Why Must You Curse In Your Headlines, And Why Does Medium Put Up With It?

I just joined Medium a few weeks ago. I have to admit something. I really don’t understand why some writers feel the need to use profanity in their headlines. Do you really think it will get me to read your article? Guess again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a snob who despises anyone who says a bad word. But really? What’s the point in throwing the F-bomb into your headlines? Is there any professionalism in that tactic? I can’t remember the last time I saw The New York Times or even The Onion use “f**k” in a headline. Perahps, never. And how do you think parents feel when their kids see your bravado sprawled across our screens.

Enough Is Enough With The F-Bombs

Are people so starved for attention and likes that they’ll say anything as clickbait? Do you think it shows how passionate you are concerning your topic? Guess what? Both of those arguments are weak. Cursing in your headlines doesn’t make you smart or zealous. It just makes you a crappy writer.

That’s right. I said crappy. If you must scream out profanities in order to attract attention, you might want to rethink your strategy. Profanity is useful in some cases. In context, it can even be artisitc. But shouting it out in your headlines reeks of being an attention whore.

As for passion, if you can’t write in a way that reveals your passion for a topic without using profanity in the headline, you might want to go back and take an English 101 class.

Why Does Medium Put Up With This Garbage?

I’m not done with my tirade yet. It’s Medium’s turn:

I question you Medium. Why do you allow this kind of behavior? I know, I know. It’s a freedom of speech issue. Hey, I’m a communication professor and one of the world’s biggest proponents of The First Amendment. But limiting profanity in headlines wouldn’t be restricting people’s right to free speech. It would simply be adding an air of quality and professionalism to your site.

Let them curse up a storm in their articles. I could care less. I’d be a little less likely to read them, but hey, to each their own, right? But please, consider how your site looks at a glance when one sees a headline with an F-bomb in it nearly every day. First, it looks like crap. Second, there are children on the Internet. Third, it might turn away new readers and writers. Isn’t that what you want? To drive more traffic to your site?

Great writers can find ways to write without cursing. I’ve written three fictional works and I’ll admit that I did use profanity. I wanted a few of the characters to be true representations. But I didn’t name my first book, A Train Called F**k, I named it, A Train Called Forgiveness.

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