Have you ever used a “swear jar” – a receptacle to collect penalty fees whenever a curse word is uttered?
If the behavior modification technique of negative reinforcement seems a little outdated to you – after all, how often do you curse while standing near a collection jar, dollar in hand? – it’s not too late to abandon your efforts to speak a PG-rated language:
The swear jar has gone digital. And for a good cause, to boot.
The Charity Swear Box (tagline: “I swear to do my bit”) is simple to operate: users enter their Twitter name on the swear box’s homepage. Then, the swear box program analyzes the user’s Twitter stream for profanity, which ranges from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, including slang (“skanks”), misspellings (“hoor”), and a few seemingly innocuous phrases (“preteen”). At the end of each month, the program calculates the total number of curses, and suggests an amount of money that the linguistic offender could donate to charity.
There is no obligation to donate – but the purpose of the swear box is to raise £1 million for famine relief in East Africa within 50 days, as part of the 50/50 campaign.
The site also includes an amusing live feed of “people swearing for a good cause right now” (excerpt: @keltr0n: “How do I love thee, Wikipedia? You’re a terrible source for anything academic but when it comes to weird shit, you’re the perfect companion”), and a running total of identified profanity, averaging $1 per curse.
As of this posting, the swear box has “caught” $38,272 worth of curses.
To check out the site and “put your bad words to good use,” visit http://charityswearbox.com/. Your potty mouth may just be worth something, after all.