My name is Ryan and I am a sarcastic person. I have a very dry sense of humor and I tease people that I like. A lot. This is simply who I am. My tongue is almost always planted firmly in my cheek. In person, this may endear me to you, or it may make you think I'm a complete SOB, but most of the time there will be little doubt that I am joking.
Unfortunately, my sense of humor does not translate well online. Oh, I can fake it on the blog. (You do think I'm funny, right?) I can use parentheticals, punctuation, and over the top satire to make my points. I have plenty of time to craft my humor, to think about what I'm saying before I say it, and to try to be humorous without being misinterpreted. Many times I have written a passage that I thought was hysterically funny, then cut it the next morning because I realized that I could be interpreted as insulting Greg Lambert's intelligence. (Actually I would have probably left that joke in, but you get the idea.) But the rest of the online world is rough for people like me. The number of times that I have typed a response to a tweet with a brilliant quick witted reply, only to delete it when I realize that I can't say that in 140 characters without sounding cruel, is only surpassed by the number of times I've hit the Tweet button before I realized it.
This morning, Matt Levy (@MattLevyIP) tweeted the following:
I don't buy this at all. #DoINeedToSaySarcasm? RT @abajournal: People Who Are Less Agreeable Get Higher Paychecks, Study Finds
I thoroughly identify with his dilemma, but #DoINeedToSaySarcasm is 20 characters! That's a seventh of my allotted space. I can't type that hash tag every time I want people to know I'm being silly. In the real world sarcasm is subtle. It's a raised eyebrow, or tone of voice. It's the way you lift your drink to toast as you say, "Now you know what an elephant feels like." We use emoticons to replace inflection and tone, but is there anything worse than someone telling you, "I'm just kidding" over and over again. You want to strangle that person. I don't want to be the kind of person you want to strangle, but I also want you to know I'm probably kidding.
This morning on Twitter, I asked for suggestions for a sarcasm emoticon. I suggested :-S , Lisa Salazar suggested :)~ , and Scott Preston suggested $;-) . But Scott also suggested "If you need to explain sarcasm, don't use it." He's right, of course. That's the advice given by Social Media Gurus everywhere. But they also say you should be yourself online. Well, I'm sarcastic, darn it! I've spent a lifetime honing my sarcasm, so that only 7 in 12 people find me completely annoying. I can't just throw that away. It's who I am.
Today, I'm calling for online amnesty for sarcastic people everywhere. We need to create a Sarcasm Day. One day per year when I can just be myself and type furiously, witty responses, to every stupid thing I read online without worrying about how I'll be perceived. Otherwise, I'll have to settle for being staid, boring, humorless, and factual online, and if I wanted to be like that, I would have gone to law school.