Cue The Future


"I'm living in the future, so the present is my past" -Kayne West

Expletive Power

PNO has really begun to take off and in a long letter written to some of my friends and family recently I explained all my motivations and efforts in significant detail. The replies have started to come in. I’ve noticed a few trends in those replies I’ve gotten so far. One is that they are positive and include praise; the other is that from the younger recipients I seem to inspire lots of expletives. The first trend shows me that any true passion about improving the social sector is inspiring to people, and I hope some of those recipients will jump into the fray and do a little good. In a ChangeThis manifesto I read yesterday the author discussed “checking the cosmic do-some-good box twice a year and then returning to thinking about ourselves,” I hope we can migrate from this way of thinking and instead do some small acts of kindness on a more routine basis, small amounts of persistence rules over larger fits and spurts any day, the tortoise and the hare comes to mind. I would like to spend a little time analyzing the second trend as it has to do with social language patterns, which interest me quite a bit.

Here are two excerpts from emails I have received

“d****t Tyler!! I knew you had it in you! I’m so f***ing proud of you and your motivation to start this project…. I hope to see you [soon].”

“You f***ing inspire me.”

These were amazingly powerful for me to read. To my knowledge I’ve never inspired anyone before, let alone inspired them enough to feel that the sentence needs more power then already there. Both of these emails came from people I count as good people and great friends. Once I realized I was taking a lot of pride from these emails I chastised myself for it and then got to thinking.

As someone who swears on occasion I think from time to time on how it affects how people view me. There is no question that expletives offer a great deal of power in everyday language. The flipside is that using language like that can indicate possessing a weak vocabulary. You can’t express exactly what you want to indicate without a crutch. (“swearing or cursing is a substitute for a good vocabulary.” -my dad).

It’s my personal opinion that this is partly malarkey. While an impressive vocabulary does help you express your exact ideas, sometimes a “forbidden” word carries power that is impossible to replicate with any other word. I try not to curse but I understand that there are rare occasions when using expletives is permissible, even perhaps necessary, when you are dealing with people you know will not be offended; it can make a powerful statement even more so. Although when using expletives to express anger or disappointment, one would do well to study the quick wit of Winston Churchill instead of relying on a four letter word.
No matter what the case is here, I appreciate all the emails, and I appreciate that you have indicated such a strong feeling.

About the Author

Tyler Willis is the Vice President of Business Development at Unified, which builds enterprise marketing technology for brands and agencies.

This blog is about how the future will affect technology, marketing, and the things we care about most. Learn more about Tyler.


Tyler is a featured speaker and instructor for The American Marketing Association, and is a popular speaker on topics related to social marketing and how technology is changing our lives.

Recent engagements:
- South by Southwest
- American Marketing Association
- TMP Directional Marketing Client Summit

Email for Speaking Requests.

Lightweight Update

I write infrequent (quarterly at most), semi-formal updates of what I'm doing and thinking.