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F*ck, sh*t, p*ss, c*nt.

People are overly coy with their use of vowels in four letter words on Twitter.

To avoid the risk of upsetting people, and (woe of woes) becoming the victim of a mass unfollowing, they replace said vowels with an *, or a £, or a $. Or even a %.

All this actually does is draw more attention to the word. Instead of going with the flow of a sentence, your brain has to stop, reverse a bit and fill in the blank represented by *, £, $, or %. What was an almost subconscious process suddenly becomes very conscious – “Oh right, he means ‘fuck’.” More often than not you’ll then say “fuck” to yourself several times before reading on.

I don’t get it. Unlike Facebook we’re all adults on Twitter aren’t we? My followers certainly are.

And I’m not aware of anyone losing half of their followers as a result of some judicious swearing. Are you?

The only long term viable approach to Twitter is to be yourself. If your natural “voice” includes the occasional use of a a four letter word for literary effect, that’s cool. And the people who follow you should be cool with it too.

If they’re not cool with it, you’re probably better off without them.

F*ck ’em, the c*nts.

4 Responses to “The reverse psychology of asterisks and other symbols.”

  1. Matthew says:

    Agreed. We all say the word to ourselves when we read it; it’s not a euphemism. Say it if you mean it.

    Also, I’ve never understood people who use asterisks in place of consonants, e.g. “Fu*king hell”. That’s even weirder.

    (FWIW, I like Ryan Freitas’s rules on swearing: “Vulgarity for shock is banal. If you want to curse, do it creatively, and in a torrent.”)

    http://ryanfreitas.tumblr.com/post/968361763/35-lessons-in-35-years

    • mculnane says:

      I really LOVE the way he makes good summaries of entire blog genres (booze, fashion, productivity) in just a few bullets. It’s a really insightful, concisely written post.

  2. bookmole says:

    My blog – I swear.
    Commenting on your blog – I don’t.
    Usually.
    But you are so right – what the fuck is wrong with a swear word anyway?
    Pet peeve – the bleeping of words on videos.

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