How Profanity Online Can $#*% You Up


The ‘four-letter’ word, dirty words, swear words, expletives, blasphemies! We all know that swear words have negative connotations, but we still feel comfortable enough to use them frequently, more so online. What are the consequences and implications of this behaviour; and can it affect our career opportunities?


1. Swearing online and in the workplace can affect the way you are viewed by colleagues, and potentially impact new opportunities.  

A survey commissioned by CareerBuilder, polled more than 2000 hiring managers and 3,800 workers. 64% of hiring managers ‘think less’ of an employee who curses frequently, and 57% stated they were less likely to promote them. Swearing online can also affect our reputations in the workplace, and impact new opportunities, because the convergence of our private and professional lives has us  befriending our colleagues on social media. Not only are they forming opinions about you from what they see in the office, but also from what they see on your profile.


2. Frequent Swearing Paints A Bad Picture Of You

Swearing can suggest anything from a lack of control and maturity, to a lack of professionalism. Some even believe that it makes an employee seem less intelligent! And yet, 51% of workers said they use profane language in the office.


3. Swearing Could Cost You Your Job

Carol Bartz, a former chief executive of Yahoo Inc., can attest to this. She believes that her frequent use of profanity (fueled by the passion for her role) contributed to her firing. If she could go back and do one thing differently, it would be to swear less in the office.


4. Be Careful Where and When You Swear

Social Check™ recommends keeping profanity between friends, out of the workplace, and social media. You will avoid being negatively viewed by colleagues and clients, and won’t miss out on opportunities because recruiters and hiring managers are actively using social media to hire and select applicants.

Even after applying privacy settings to your profile, be wary when posting on a friend’s wall; they may not have applied the same privacy settings to their profile, and therefore your post may be visible.

Social Check™ has nothing against the use of profanity, we think swearing is a unique aspect of Australian culture! We do however acknowledge that profanity can sometimes offend others especially those from different cultures and backgrounds. So it’s always important to be mindful because they may could be your next manager, hiring manager, or prospective customer.

You are an extension of your company’s brand and reputation. Put your best foot forward, and remember that First Impressions Count.


Best regards,

The Social Check Team

David Griffiths

David Griffiths

Founder & Director - Social Check™

Social Check™ helps individuals to look the very best they can online and ensure that their personal online brand is as strong as it can be. Social Check’s unique technology helps people to rapidly, cheaply and easily audit their existing online presence and then take swift action to remedy issues and improve it. With a background of holding senior roles in multi-national corporates, David is passionate about business strategy, social media, innovation, start-ups, leadership, personal branding, executive development, brand reputation, reputational risk and digital marketing.