Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a growing trend in swearing online.
On a Facebook group, I discovered small businesses selling gifts covered in ‘swear-jar’ words, like bracelets, mugs, and gift cards. In some workplaces, you might find that swearing is part of the everyday environment and culture. At home, we both started to swear more after binge-watching reality television shows and comedies. And once you start cursing like a sailor, it is hard to stop.
You might like to minimise your own swearing online for the following reasons:
1. Swearing online is aggressive
Swearing online can come across as aggressive and angry. Without the body language, facial expressions and voice inflections, it is easy for your message to be miscommunicated.
If you read a message where someone is swearing back at you, take the time to reflect and perhaps pause before you respond. Walk away from your keyboard or phone. If you know the person, ring them up and ask them to clarify why they are upset or angry.
Alternatively, remove your original message or turn the commenting off. You can also ask the moderator to block the offending person if you feel your personal safety has been threatened.
Remember to: Block early. Block often.
2. Potential bosses might be reading your work
When you are ready to apply for your next job, it’s always a good idea to type your full name into a search engine. It’s likely that your next boss or manager will be doing this. Particularly if you are on the short-list of candidates. You might not want your private Snapchat and Facebook messages turning up on the first page of results.
The other place to check is Google images. You’ll want to avoid drunk photos and images of yourself holding wine or beer glasses at parties (unless you work in wine promotion or hospitality). This can be a little bit tricky if there are other people in the country with the same name as yours.
3. The Relatives test
Whenever I’m misbehaving, my mother has this trick of reminding me about the older generations in my extended family. Next time you are writing something cheeky or offensive online, you might like to ask yourself:
“What would your grandmother think about this?”
“What would your father think about this?”
You might like to think your parents don’t know how to use social media, but they are probably smarter than you think. Your parents might even have a google alert out on your name.
It is best to avoid using all capitals online – as some people consider this to be ‘yelling’. I’m not going to give you advice on using emojis here, as that is a bit of a double-meaning minefield and they deserves their own article.
You might discover that when you stop swearing online, your communication skills will be seen as more professional and your in-real-life relationships improve.
Image Credit: Andy Kirby on Unsplash