S is for Swearing Students

Dear Students,

Let's talk for a moment about Facebook and social media. Do you remember when I was your teacher, or your SGA Advisor, or your boss? And do you remember that conversation we had at the beginning of the school year or semester about how I will be an amazing reference for you so long as I see you being respectful of me, the college, and the people around you? And do you remember me saying that swearing, while a valid mode of self-expression, shows a lack in creativity and is frankly a rude thing to do around people that you expect to speak well of you? Because I do.

And here's the thing - that carries over into this wonderful place we call the Internet. And while I understand that you may find something to be "So f*cking funny!!!!!!!!zomg!!" wouldn't it be a better use of your college education to say that something is "So frightfully funny" or that you appreciated the juxtaposition of the cat's glower against the ridiculous clown wig? And rather than telling the internet that the school you plan to call your Alma Mater should go screw itself (which, in and of itself is a statement that defies physics and logic...), wouldn't it be a better use of breath to attempt to find/ask for resources to solve the problem you are having?

Because here's the thing. I don't meant to be a Puritan or a killjoy, but this stuff will follow you - and me! - around! Employers are looking at FB profiles (even asking for passwords). As a reference, I am putting my reputation out there to stand for you and say, "this is a quality person." And I don't really want my reputation to be associated with someone who can't think of anything better to say than a string of curse words.

So for some of you, just know that unless you start to clean up your online presence, the next time you ask me for a reference I just might have to tell you, "F*ck no."



  1. Really good points! Kids (and some adults, too) forget that what they write online is there forever.

  2. Sorry, I know I don't do this often, but I have to weigh in on this one. My apologies as this is going to be a bit of a tangent.

    I get your point but Facebook was never intended to be used the way employers seem to want. My Facebook is personal, and it contains religion and sexual orientation information for which employers cannot legally ask.

    Since I work in an IT environment where giving out your password costs you not only your job, but in fact your medical license, it completely disgusts me that employers would ever ask for your password for anything.

    Professionalism is the purpose LinkedIn. If an employer wants to see that, more power to them, but I (and most of my coworkers) believe Facebook is a separate entity altogether. If a hiring manager asks me for my Facebook password to "see if I'm a good person," I would ask for their personal email password to "see if they were a good boss." When they refuse, I would politely decline the job because I frankly I wouldn't want to work in an environment that has no respect for its employees privacy anyway.

    End Rant. I will freely admit, this situation has made me swear profusely largely out of pure frustration. As you said, swearing can be a useful tool, and studies have shown it does reduce stress and can in fact lessen physical pain; but I hope I also just proved your point that valid arguments can be formulated without it.

    1. I agree with you, mostly. However whatever our personal feelings about how things *should* be used, the reality is that employers do look at your online presence in deciding whether to hire you. I totally agree about the password thing - under no circumstances should that be ok. But it does happen. I just worry about my students having bad consequences for the way they present themselves online.

  3. Ayjay you have made some very good points, and I must say swearing does seem to be on the increase in this younger generation, I work in a high school so I definately know.

    But, I also agree with James W. - Facebook was created as a personal network for people to interact with their close friends, and should not be used as a means for employers to judge and criticize prospective employees. People develop and change and learn as they grow and the kids these days are on Facebook at very early ages, therefore may not be what they once were when they are interviewed for a particular job.

    1. I totally agree, but unfortunately it is being used that way. Our entire online presence is used that way. So while it may not be fair or right... It is reality and something that should be minded at least a bit. Would be kind-of nice if there were a statute of limitations on what they'd consider, for those who did post 'stupid' things when they were younger..

  4. Are there not delete buttons?
    #31 following

  5. Donetta Sifford2:59 AM

    I wasn't one of your students but I happened to see this and liked it a lot. I do swear somewhat, well okay, more than is ladylike. However, i'm 36 and sometimes old habits die hard, but on the plus side, I always show respect for whom I am around. I have two daughters. My oldest is going into middle school this fall , my youngest will be in 3rd grade. I have my oldest on my Facebook friends so I watch what I say. Words can make a huge impression also when you don't know someone in person. This is a great post!!! My favorite English teacher always said, "By swearing at someone, you only show your vocabulary limits."


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