Words have power. Negative power and positive power. I hate how they are some times used, but I love that they are so powerful. One of the most powerful words I know is the f-word.
“I drop the f-bomb like it’s hot.”
In the past, people told me that they like that I’m, “so genuine.” I’ve often been tempted to respond, “why do you think that? Because I say the f-word a lot?” It’s sort of a joke, but it’s also true. I’ve always kind of looked at my willingness to drop the f-bomb online as a badge of honor. It was a way for me to “keep it real.”
When I’ve used the f-word, I was kinda hoping you would see it as a measure of my authenticity. When I said things like, “f@#k cancer,” I meant it. Sure, some folks are offended, but others knew it was my passion shining through.
One of my closest friends never cusses online. It was odd to me because he drops the f-bomb all the time in real life. He’s advised me of his reasoning why he purposely self-filters, but I’ve always respectfully disagreed with his strategy because it’s not who he is.
Then the curious case of Trevor Noah came about.
When Trevor was announced as John Steward’s replacement on the Daily Show, some folks went through his old tweets and found some offensive stuff. Maybe it wasn’t offensive to you, but it was offensive to some, mainly because people who often choose to be offended by words… often are.
Honestly, for the purpose of this post, it doesn’t matter if you were offended or not. What matters is that people are willing to surface out-of-context stuff from years past, just so they can be offended. I mean, WTF? Who the fu, fu… fudge has time to dig through thousands of effin’ tweets just to find an offensive one?
This made me think, “there are probably a f@#k-load of my tweets that could offend some” A social media “outrage” was just a few clicks away. I generally have zero fusses to give about what others think of me, but who the… heck needs that hassle?
I’m not going to drop the F-bomb online anymore. If that makes me less authentic, so be it. I’m also beginning to expunge my use of the word from old posts and blogs. Twitter is where I got started.
Twitter offers this great fricken’ tool called “Advanced Search.” You can enter an account and a keyword and away you go. This might be how they found Trevor’s tweets of debatable offense. As I think about it, there’s really only two purposes for this tool; for someone to dig up some dirt on you or for you to use it to find and erase your own dirt first.
The first term I searched for was the F-bomb. Then I ran queries for many other cuss words. Then some references to drinking bourbon. Then I erased some posts that offended people in the past. Then I looked for and erased a few “conversational” tweets with people I don’t particularly get along with.
However, I erased less than hundred tweets. Considering that I’ve posted more than twenty thousand tweets, the lesson I learned about myself is that there wasn’t a $h!t ton of potentially offensive tweets to delete after all. I never cussed enough for most people to see me “keeping it real” in the first place. So maybe my friend was right. Cussing had nothing to do with why they followed me, and that’s kind of freaking cool.