Du Malone writes: In a chapter in what is far and away the best business book** I’ve read, Hugh Williams considers the question of bad language.

The chapter is less preachy than the following extract might make it sound. It begins:

Of all the things one may have to give up in life, swearing has to be the easiest…Let’s see just how dreadful swearing is. First of all, it can be a great offence in its own right…Secondly, it is everywhere — on the TV, in plays, in books, on our own lips. Thirdly, it is always noticed. If ever a word gets remembered from a sentence, it is the swear word.

The chapter finishes as follows:

Clients, on the whole, will hate it if you swear…it is very easy to stop.

My reason for blogging on this here, in a rather different context, concerns social media.

I use social media largely for the purposes of discussing FM. In the process I frequently encounter bad language. I do wonder why: it’s hard to see how discussion about FM requires it.

And it certainly has negative effects. Social media can be an unappealing place and bad language is one of the things that tips the balance towards incivility. It also makes me more likely to unfollow people: I don’t really want to have to listen to them.

Such language in a piece of content also makes me reluctant to share it, or even to like it, because then it feels as if I’m partaking.

I confess I have very definitely been known to swear in personal life– but do I accept Williams’s point that it’s usually easy not to. Having made the decision not to use bad language on social media I’ve found it easy, as Williams would have predicted, to adhere to it.

To anyone who chooses to follow the same policy, I say: Thank you: you’re making it easier for me to follow you and share your content.


** Hugh Williams, 101 ways to grow your business (Lawpack, 2007)



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