Swearing in Blog Posts and Book Reviews {Discussion}

Discussion Post I’m curious about something…how do you guys feel about swearing in book reviews and blog posts?

My Swearing Background

29589_501903236519013_21211490_n Personally, I rarely ever do it…but I actually swear quite a bit in person (when I’m around friends) and enjoy when other people’s posts and book reviews use curse words to get their point across. While I don’t think that it’s always necessary to swear in a post, sometimes a well-placed “bad word” sets just the right tone. Very occasionally, I will use a swear word in a post or review, but only when I feel like I absolutely have to use it because it’s the “perfect” word for what I’m trying to say, or if I want to strongly emphasize something. Sometimes I actually wish that I felt comfortable swearing more often online, but the last thing that I want to do is accidentally offend somebody or put a bad taste in someone’s mouth about my blog, so usually I decide to refrain.

Some Bloggers Do Curse

resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-i-see-your-post-contains-lots-swear-words-you-must-really-know-what-you-re-talking-about-d81744 But I notice that there are some bloggers out there who do it all the time! I can’t decide if I should be jealous of their assertive and confident behavior…or feel bad that they might be scaring certain readers away. But, on the other hand — they probably don’t even really want readers who would be offended by swear words, so I get why they don’t feel the need to censor themselves.

How Professional Should Your Blog Be?

images But there’s also another aspect to this dilemma…your loyal readers aren’t the only ones that are seeing these posts. Publishers are, too. How do they feel about people using swear words in reviews? I’ve just always assumed that they might think it’s a little unprofessional, which is another reason why I rarely swear on the blog (and, when I do, it’s almost never in a review). I guess I just think of it like…if I was talking to a publisher in person and telling them what I thought of one of their books, would I describe it with curses? Probably not. So it only makes sense to grant them that same curtesy online. I don’t want to use the fact that I’m hiding behind a screen to give myself permission to behave badly — that seems like a pretty slippery slope

My Personal Choice

For me, personally, using swear words in a post or a review just isn’t really something that I do. I might swear a lot with friends, but I think that I tend to look at my blog as a slightly more professional atmosphere than hanging out at a bar with the girls. But I still try to stay warm, friendly, and open so that, even though I might not totally let my guard down, readers still get a pretty good sense of who I am.


What do you think about swearing in blog posts and book reviews? Do you do it…why or why not?



30 responses to “Swearing in Blog Posts and Book Reviews {Discussion}

  1. I don’t swear that often either, but when I get really emotional about a book (either love or hate) swearing just seems right somehow. But I don’t feel comfortable swearing all the time like some bloggers:-)

  2. Personally I don’t really have an issue with people swearing in blog posts. I actually haven’t come across many posts with TONS of swears, or even bloggers that use tons of swears all the time on their blog. I feel like it’s the blogger’s decision, and that’s fine.

    I don’t swear a lot (almost never) on my blog, but that’s also because I don’t swear much IRL. I’m a children’s librarian, and I try to not get in the habit, because it would be easy to start swearing without thinking about it and I wouldn’t want to upset parents.

    • I think it’s important for somebody’s blog to be a good representation of who they are in real life. So, if you don’t swear in real life, it would be weird if you did in your blog posts!

      But personally I swear a lot at home, and it’s okay if I do at work, so it’s hard because I want to make sure that the image I’m presenting of myself on my blog is the “real me.” But I think that it’s possible to convey who I am without resorting to swear words most of the time.

  3. I can’t even think of any blogs I’ve run across where the blogger swears. I guess my reaction would depend on the use, which is a very subjective, gray area. Is the swearing actually adding something, or is it random and apparently trying to compensate for the lack of thought in the post?

    In general, I don’t think there’s a need for swearing. I do consider blogs a sort of “professional” space even if they are personal, just for the blogger to air their thoughts. I think I’m just used to writing in general being a professional activity where’s there’s rarely space for swearing.

    That said, I don’t think I would stop reading a blog because of it.

    • I wouldn’t say that I see it A LOT from bloggers. But it’s something that I come across every now and then and have noticed.

      “I think I’m just used to writing in general being a professional activity where’s there’s rarely space for swearing.” This is a really good point! You’re right…most of my writing experience comes from having written for school or in other professional atmospheres. I’m used to censoring myself and trying to sound professional. And because of that, sometimes using a swear word in a post just seems weird to me! Like, “against the rules” almost. Maybe it’s just this mental block I need to get around. But I do think that blogs are somewhat professional as well, so I’m not just going to start cursing willy-nilly in my posts.

  4. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!! Every time I type a swear word into a review, I find myself pausing and 90% of the time I’ve gone and deleted the word. I just don’t know what to do. I swear all the fucking time in person (see?) and swear words just drop out of my mouth so casually I hardly even realise I’m swearing anymore. I’ve grown up around friends who swear a lot so it’s just something I’m really used to? The problem is, because I’m so used to it, I don’t notice if other bloggers do it. Because it comes so naturally to me, my brain just runs over it like any other word. But when I’m writing my own reviews, my brain snags on those words and I panic because I don’t really know if this is something other people do or what.

    Buuuut I will say that for my review for Laura Lam’s Pantomime, my first sentence was “HOLY SHITBALLS, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING” and the author herself tweeted about how she’ll love any review of her books that starts with “HOLY SHITBALLS, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING”, so I was very pleased.

    So I think what I’m trying to say is that I allow myself to use swear words if I’m using them in a positive sense, but I will try and refrain from hating on a book with swear words. I will usually be happy to say “this book is fucking awesome”, but I’m not going to be like, “this book is fucking awful”. But I do keep swear words to a minimum on my blog, so they have more impact when I do use them. (:

    • Hahaha I love this comment!!

      That’s awesome that that author contacted you to say that she loved your use of swearing! I wonder if authors tend to be more accepting of those kinds of reviews, though? Like I wonder if publishing companies ever dislike it when people use swears in a review…even if it’s in a positive way and the author likes it. Or do they just not care? I wish I knew these things!

      “But when I’m writing my own reviews, my brain snags on those words and I panic because I don’t really know if this is something other people do or what.” Yes, I totally agree with this! “Snag” is a good word. That happens all the time for me when I’m writing posts. Because normally I type as if I’m talking out loud, so NOT swearing feels almost unnatural sometimes. It’s hard to not use those words, and I don’t want to feel like I’m inaccurately representing myself, but I think that I do a decent job of making myself still sound like “me” even without using those words. I just don’t want to offend anybody! But maybe I’m taking things way too seriously 😛 I’m not sure if anybody actually cares whether I swear or not.

  5. I don’t swear much in real life or on my blog, so when I do it’s usually when I feel that it’s an appropriate word for the situation to really get my point across. When I’m really irked about a book or a subject, I tend to be a bit more liberal with the swearing. Even so, I never use the S or F word (see – I can’t even type them out!). I guess I use the “middle” level swears? I don’t know. It’s the 14-year old me coming out 😛

    • Hahaha oh my god you’re so adorable

      I do feel like sometimes swear words ARE the appropriate words to use, like you said. I disagree with people who think that every use of a swear word is stupid because it shows a lack of vocabulary. I think that there are certain circumstances in which a perfectly placed curse is exactly what a post needs to get its point across. So usually I try to limit myself to using them in that kind of way.

  6. I guess I tend to censor myself a fair bit on the blog (although I actually censor myself even more in real life. I swear a lot in my mind but not too often out loud lol) and mostly use things like “eff” instead of fuck etc. But of course, when the need arises, I’m going to crack out the big guns- I usually only use them when I’m ranting about something stupid or raving about something amazing or really shocking 🙂

    In terms of your professionalism point, most (99%) of the books I review on my blog are from publishers, but on the whole, my reviews are very informal. I use hashtags, I display the inability to turn off capslock, I swear, I say “haha” and “lol” far too many times, I do this sometimes: “akjsdlhfakjwef! jashdfka!” but they continue to send me books, so I assume they’re not really that massive on professionalism haha.

    • That’s good to know haha! I love it when bloggers just go all out and show their love for a book, even if it’s not necessarily even in words — like LOL or asdjhfashdf. It shows that you really were emotional about it! And those are the best kinds of books 😀 Reviews like that always tend to convince me.

  7. I have the worst potty mouth ever in real life, I swear often. Or all the time haha. But on my blog I tend to not do it very much. As you do, I feel that it would come off as unprofessional. While I do it sometimes it’s normally in discussion posts, memes or reviews that are not review books(my picks). And even on the last one I only do it when I really need to add emphasize. I LOVE when people do it though, I’m not exactly sure why. I think it adds a wonderful level of snark and humor that I wish I had 🙂

  8. I don’t swear much or at all in written form, but I’ll confess it’s because I’m always wary that someone I know in real life (ie, my mom) will find my blog. They know I have one, and it wouldn’t take my digging or over the shoulder laptop reading for them to know where to find it, but it’s always on my mind when I want to call a character “badass.”

    Better safe than sorry, I guess!

  9. You have some of the best discussion topics, Miranda! I don’t have a lot of time for commenting these days, but you have finally persuaded me to join the discussion, lol! I think I’m a lot like you (surprise!). I swear a lot — perhaps too much — in person, but on my blog I try to keep it to a minimum. I might be casual and weird in my posts, but swearing delves a little too far below the “professional” line for me, I think.

    • Aww thanks, Kelley!! That means a lot…both about the discussion topics and the commenting 🙂

      Haha, oh what, we’re similar in another way? Surprise, surprise 😉 Yup, I feel the same exact way as you!

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  11. I don’t swear offline, so not swearing online is just the natural thing to do for me. The one time I did use the F-word, it was directed at a course mate, and the entire tutorial room went silent, shocked that anyone’s ever been able to drag it out of me. Haha.

    Personally, I’m alright with bloggers using the occasional swear word to emphasise a point. But I rather they use it sparingly. Like you said, professionalism and all that, since we really don’t know who ends up reading what we write. IRL when we’re with friends, it’s a totally different setting from our blogs. I’m not really into blogs that are peppered with swear words though.

    And I’m glad you feel that you can be yourself despite trying to be more professional on the blog. You’re pretty open when it comes to the important issues, which I definitely appreciate! 🙂

  12. I do curse offline but not that much so it’s not hard for me to refrain from swearing in my posts. In general, I try not to because there really isn’t any need for it because most of the time, my posts aren’t very ragey and there’s no need for me to swear to convey my feelings. I don’t really mind swearing in posts, just like I don’t mind them in books, as long as they aren’t directed to a person or a thing and intended to be mean or hurtful but again, if a post has a TON of swearing and there’s really no need for it, then it becomes a bit unprofessional and just ridiculous.

  13. I swear, but not too often. I mean, this is a hobby, and I am an adult who swears so it would be odd to censure myself completely. I think since it is my space, I can speak the way I want to, but I also realize that it brings down your credibility when you go overboard. Good topic!

  14. Timely discussion. I have through about writing a blog post about this more than once, even started one recently before getting bored. I do swear in reviews. Not every review, and not in hate filled rants. But More often in positive reviews I have no problem dropping an f-bomb for extra emotional punch.

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  18. I don’t swear in real life and I don’t swear on my blog, though I do use a lot of ‘substitute’ words (darn, heck etc). My grandmother reads my blog and I’d get a phone call if I used actual swear words, lol.
    I don’t mind other bloggers using swear words on their blogs though, and I don’t mind books that have swear words in them 🙂

  19. I don’t swear a lot in person or online, but when I do feel like doing it, I just let it fly. I’m not worried about scaring away readers, because my blog isn’t trying to cater to EVERYONE. I think my blog is directed at slightly older readers (not like 16 and below). Sometimes I review erotica and sometimes I swear. If someone doesn’t like that, they just don’t have to read it.

    I don’t worry about publishers getting upset either. Even when I get a book from a publisher, that review isn’t directed at the publisher. It’s directed at my readers.

    Ultimately, my blog is my space. Everyone has different priorities and one of mine is to never have to censor myself. As soon as I start putting limits on what I can do/say, it won’t feel like MY blog anymore. I just want to be myself without holding back. If that means not swearing in 10 posts in a row because it didn’t come naturally to do so, that’s fine. Or if it means dropping two F-bombs in one post, that’s fine with me too. 🙂

    • I like your answer a lot!

      And that’s a really good point…“Even when I get a book from a publisher, that review isn’t directed at the publisher. It’s directed at my readers.”

      After writing this post and reading all the responses, I’m feeling a lot better about it now. Even though I would never want to censor myself either, I was kind of worried that some people found swear words actually offensive. As much as this blog is for me, the last thing I’d want to do is offend people. But I guess I was just over-thinking it, because pretty much everybody said that they didn’t care about blog posts having swears in them! So I’m sure I’ll be dropping a bunch of f-bombs soon, myself 😉

  20. I definitely agree with you about the professional side of blogging, but then again it’s also my domain and I shouldn’t place any restrictions upon myself. But the thing is, ever since I created my internet presence back whenever I started my first MySpace or Facebook or whatever, I made a conscious decision that there would be a line. I would never use the f word, even though it is a common occurrence in my day to day conversations. I just didn’t think it was appropriate for me to use it where someone could see it (teachers, employers, etc etc). So I don’t use that word on the blog, either.
    In general, I’ll even shy away from shit, and bitch simply because I don’t know everyone in my audience. There could be younger teens or people from the industry and I don’t want to seem crass. But if I feel the need to use them, I will. But I rarely do, since I placed that restriction on myself so many years ago, haha.
    I really don’t mind if a blog swears because *I* swear so much. And I feel the same way that you do. Am I awed or shocked? Or a little bit of both? I think I may be a little bit of both, haha.
    But I am all for blogging for you, so if someone swears a lot or doesn’t swear at all – I’ll still read their posts. 😀

  21. I usually only swear in real life when I’m very tired and kind of cynical and possibly in a lingering bad mood. Or I’ve stressed for a very long time.

    But I really like your perspective about being more “professional” on your blog. I think we all shift ourselves depending on the circumstances and I don’t think it’s being any less of ourselves. Because people are very dimensional and how I am hanging out with my friends is different than than how I am at work, swearing or not. So I like that you can incorporate that into your blog perspective 🙂

    I also really like the question about whether you’d use those words talking to a publisher in person. I think that cuts right to the heart if it really we’ll 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment!

      I don’t think I’m being any less of myself either by not swearing…but ever since I wrote this post and so many people ended up responding positively, I’ve been swearing a little bit more in my posts. But not reviews, really. Only discussion posts, since those are more personal and less professional parts of my blog.

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