…or a door-opener

I have been mulling over a series of potty-mouthed articles on LinkedIn this week. In my newsfeed was a share of an article about working from home by Cara MacKay, MD of Gillies and Mackay Ltd a garden buildings manufacturer. Nothing odd about that as designing, building and installing home offices is a great piece applicable to the growing millions of people who work from home.

The popularity, or notoriety, of the article was not that it was about home working or even the benefits of having a bespoke garden building but the use of the F word in the title. In fact, 10 occurrences throughout the text. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-work-from-home-cara-mackay

Now I’m not against swearing per se, after all I worked in the City and the language on the trading floor wasn’t what you’d use in front of your elderly relatives. It added a sense of urgency, maybe even panic, to the communication. I guess it was also a form of bonding. We didn’t swear in front of clients, in written reports, or even out of the office. In those situations, the etiquette for the use language was undocumented but nevertheless understood and in the main we followed the ‘rules’.

My query over employing the swearing tactic is: ‘Where do you go from here?’ Will the next article contain a greater frequency of the F word? Or maybe go one step further?

If the author’s intention was to shock then it had the desired effect but I get the impression it was more about being uber-authentic. She writes as she speaks. Whilst alienating some LinkedIn readers, Cara has firmly put herself out there. To date the article has had 9,622 likes, 1,672 comments and 612 shares. She then wrote a response with a video which was a bit of a rant about the usual ‘corporate’ tone of voice on LinkedIn which is at variance to her own – this article has had 7,795 views, 1,317 comments and 176 shares.

Subsquently, I came across an article about the ‘new’ look of LinkedIn and how the functionality of a free account has been affected by the recent update. Fair enough.  This article’s F word frequency hit just 8 but Josh Harrison’s clear frustration with LinkedIn resonated with his audience He warned his readers with this opening sentence:

[Disclaimer]Please hit the back button now if you don’t like profanity.[/Disclaimer]

Like Cara’s article it’s had hundreds of views, like, comment and shares.

The message is that to be seen in this crazy, information-overload world is tough. Using the vernacular ensured they have put their heads above the parapet. But what I do question is: where does this tactic (if it was one) go from here?  Linguistically there are not many more ‘boundaries’ to cross. . I am very happy for Cara and Josh to be known for swearing on LinkedIn if that’s their aim (which I don’t think it is) as after all, it might well sell more sheds or find more job applicants.

I’m off to research the history of swearing but I think I’ll keep my findings to myself!

Categories: linkedin