Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Please Read this Effing Post

I was reading a blog recently written by an account planner at a European agency. The author is young; his photo and list of his interests puts him in his late twenties in my forty-something mind. I like what he has to say, though, and I like the fact that he’s not senior management at his agency.

But…the other day he dropped the f-bomb in his blog.

Don’t get me wrong—I wasn’t offended. I tend to use the f-bomb rather liberally within the confines of my own office, especially when I’m writing purchase orders or doing other paperwork. It got me to thinking, though—what role does (or should) profanity play in an ostensibly professional blog post? And can (or does) it do you any damage?

I realize there are a lot of variables that need to be addressed before answering that question, like what your brand represents in the first place and to whom you are speaking with your blog. Generally speaking, however, what does what does the casual dropping of the f-bomb mean in a blog?

On the one hand, it could impress upon your audience that you are having a conversation with them. That you feel comfortable enough with them to let your guard down a little bit and use the occasional “colorful metaphor.” This might actually foster the conversation, and get folks to open up more candidly with their thoughts—and colorful metaphors.

On the other hand you could make your readers believe that you really aren’t serious about the topic, or your job, or your life. After all, you started off all nice and professional, and then you said THAT. How immature, Mr. Longshoreman (apologies in advance to longshoremen everywhere for the sweeping generalization).

On another hand (?) there may be those who say that you’re pushing the envelope, and being edgy, and that's what the industry needs--fresh thinking! But yet another hand might slap you down for using the lazy person’s choice of words instead of thinking of something more appropriate.

Bottom line (and regardless of how many hands you have)—I don’t know what it means. I will say that blogs probably are viewed as more informal than actual printed media because they are more democratized and everyone can publish one. And because we are ostensibly having conversations with our audience via blogs the language will likely become more casual. However, I do think it’s always important to be mindful of your audience when writing anything professional—a blog, a press release, a website, what have you. Before turning that salty phrase you might want to just be sure that your audience will be receptive to it.

And that’s all I have to effing say about that. What the eff do you think?

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