Periodically I've made the point that basic civility is a good thing: don't swear in public, and dress professionally at work. People who know me well are probably chuckling right now; Four letter words come way too easily to me, and - until recently - I "dressed for failure" whenever I went to an office (in this sense, working at home has been a godsend for me).
I've been cleaning up my act on the clothing front, and I make a real effort to avoid nasty language - especially on this blog. The reason? There's just no upside to it.
Ultimately, swearing's purpose is shock - you pull out a curse word in order to put a huge exclamation point on something. If you do that all the time, it's like WRITING WITH CAPLOCKS ON - it gets tiresome very quickly, and people start to see you as the sort of person who yells continually. If you can't express yourself - especially in writing - without resorting to cursing - then you have a serious communication problem. Whether you want to believe it or not, a large proportion of your potential audience is tuning you out.
This came to mind because of this article by Antonio Cangiano - he said:
I hate how being harsh has become fashionable. Whatever happened to manners?
This spontaneous reaction was in response to a blog that attempted to be humorous by using the word "f******" multiple times in reference to Adobe's UIs which were perceived as lacking a native look and feel.
The basic point comes next:
I stand behind those words. Acting bitter on the Internet seems to be increasingly gathering the popularity amongst an audience that's used to being amused and entertained by cheap attacks. Concepts like respect, courtesy, or civility - let alone class - appear to be all but forgotten.
Read the whole thing - Antonio gives a number of good examples. Bottom line - if you want to be respected, it's better to be respectful.