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F***, mom. It’s not profanity. It’s communication.

During an elevator speech on the lake front yesterday I said that I know the difference between a chaise lounge and a deck chair, a folding chair and a beach chair. And I suggested that ability to be one aspect of my SEO work which could not be outsourced.

In technical school (University, Bachelor of Engineering, Masters of Engineering, tons of post-graduate credits in… Engineering with a capitol “E”) I always sought out and enjoyed the “humanities”. I was asked to participate in the humanities honors progam at Hoftsra University, where I was the only Engineering student so-involved. We met in the attic of the old library and discussed intellectual issues, which we later wrote about. It was way more fun than fluid dynamics. Seriously.

At the New Jersey Institute of Technology, I met Herman Estrin, a unique individual gifted with an appreciation for language (verbal and non-verbal) as communication. Doc Estrin knew his craft, and traveled the world teaching “American English” to business people. A master of language, yes, but perhaps more importantly, a master of communication between people.

Point is: language is a tool. I totally support all professional efforts to standardize it and make it work really, really well. And if the only way we can get a field of well-educated and caring people to protect our language for low wages is to allow them to implement a bit of nit-pickyness and overly complex grammatical rules, or elevate it to an art form, that’s fine (hello to all the lit and language majors out there! I appreciate you!). The tasteless can tolerate it. It’s for the greater good.

Which brings me to the word fuck. It’s language, no argument. It’s crass, obviously, as we can tell from your facial expression a second ago (sorry - I had to make my point ;-) But most of all, it’s a method of communication that just works. And in SEO, the greatest word game ever played, effective communication is half of success.

I purposefully titled this post with the embedded word first to help those who don’t want my site in their feed reader any more find the unsubscribe button (I like a pure subscriber base). I also deployed the embedded word as a means of highlighting the nature of the content, so scrapers who prefer not to add that word to their own blogs can see it upfront and center. See? Effective communication through the strategic use of words. (UpDate: My Mom called, and asked me to change it to *’s. How could I say no to my mom?)
The F-word has a place, and Mike Shaver over at Mozilla knows that. In talking to wicked-smart RSnake (he’s wicked smart, literally) about exploits in Firefox and the sometimes contentious issue of public disclosure (ahem), Mike reported wrote “Ten Fucking Days” on a business card and gave it to RSnake. Mozilla will fix an exploit inside not ten days, but ten fucking days.

Mozilla exploits

The right language gets your point across. It communicates your message around, above and below the words you use to document your words. The F word, like no other written word, is able to non-verbally communicate. I personally find that freakin’ awesome. Did Mike Shaver know he was dealing with RSnake? As Doc Estrin coached me a long time ago, know your target. Do your homework, and learn all you can. Be open and pay attention… the signals are all there, begging you to communicate effectively. It’s not their job to listen, it’s your job to communicate.

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