I subscribed to a new blog a few weeks ago. I won’t say which one because it doesn’t matter.
He’s a pretty important guy in the social media world. He has written a bestseller book.
He also peppers his posts with obscenities.
I can sort of see why some bloggers feel they have to slap us in the face to get our attention.
Because we are jaded. We’ve seen it all.
But, you see, it is easy to drop the “F bomb” into a post, even into a headline. Any one of us can do that.
And aside from desensitizing us (because we hear that word so much and, really what does it mean anymore?), I think it says something else about the blogger.
It gives me the impression that she doesn’t know how to communicate. That she doesn’t have a very large vocabulary.
That she doesn’t have the time or skill to express her emotions in ways that will connect with me, her reader.
Now, I know what you are thinking.
You are a writer. Most bloggers are not.
Okay, that’s fair.
I have always been in love with words. When I was a teacher, if my students disappointed me in some way, I used to use a strategy that not only modeled honest communication and sharing of feelings, but reinforced the learning of new vocabulary.
Because why not use it as a ‘teachable moment,’ right?
So, if I left the classroom and returned to find them out of their seats or otherwise not on task, I might say:
“I’m disappointed in you. I’m saddened and discouraged by this. I am disillusioned.”
Because they were first graders, they didn’t understand some of the words. But they could tell something about what they meant by the way I used them.
By watching and listening, they saw an adult modeling communication skills. They saw the power of words.
And they learned how to attach feeling, emotions and meaning to them.
Do ‘F Bomb’ Bloggers Have a Strategy?
What about my blogger? Did he consciously decide when and where to use a ‘swear,’ as we used to call them growing up?
In a recent 500-word post of his, I counted 23 of them.
Might be that he’s decided that his blog’s brand is edgy, angry, confrontational.
Hey, if it’s working…
He may be purposely going after the I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore crowd.
And because I’m not impressed, or I can’t hear the message sandwiched in between all the “F” words, I’m probably not his audience.
On the other hand, as a writer, I’ve learned that every word is used for a purpose, for a particular effect. If there isn’t a good reason for that word, I don’t use it, no matter how much I’d like to.
An example: The movie Get Shorty, with John Travolta and Gene Hackman, is about a loan shark (Travolta) who travels to Hollywood to collect a debt and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.
In the movie, the “F bomb” is dropped 96 times. Get Shorty is also one of just 12 films that broke the one-fuck-per-minute barrier, a good percentage of them spoken by the mobster Momo.
Hey. What can I say? He’s a mobster.
Making Momo talk like that is defining his character for us.
Which begs the question, are we playing a character when we blog or are we showing our readers who we really are?
And if “F” bomb bloggers are showing us their authentic selves, shouldn’t they do that across the board, in all of their messaging? Even in their bestselling books?
What’s your take on this?
Have “F Bomb” bloggers figured out a brilliant branding strategy?
Or are they just plain lazy—unwilling to do the hard work it takes to communicate their exact thoughts, opinions and feelings?
If you are a business blogger who reads marketing and business blogs, are you distracted from the message when the blogger uses words just for shock value?
Do you think it’s a good branding strategy?
If you are a fiction writer, I want you to weigh in here, too. When do you give a character a potty mouth and why do you do it?
Tell me what you think.