Is Digital Media Shifting When and Where We Swear?

Here’s the thing: I find expletives offensive because in my opinion, they are ugly and because there are so many other words in the English language that can be used to express strong emotions. In my role as a college instructor in Journalism & Mass Communication, I see the use of crude language in student work and find myself taken aback, even shocked. In thinking about this, I wonder whether I am being unrealistic, a dinosaur.

I teach a course on the fundamentals of online and social media at Texas State University. That’s right, online and social media. Take a look at online and social media, and you will see that expletives, words that are considered by some to be obscene or profane, are a fairly common part of this landscape. Whether you call them obscenities, profanities, curse words, swear words, or simply “language” you will find it on Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and other social media platforms, and in online media news sites ranging from the Huffington Post to Motherboard Vice.

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