How to "Joke Post" on Facebook

Categories: The Intertubes

So, this last Saturday was International Women's Days, and my newsfeed on Facebook was full of several sentiments just like the one you see above. After the author receives many scathing rebukes for what is a rather overprivileged and oblivious sentiment, he complained that "for the light hearted disabled: this is a joke".

Facebook allows us to connect with all kinds of people, but most people eventually end up using it as their own personal biographical epic. The fact that Facebook even gives you the ability to create your own freakin' clip show certainly doesn't help pop that particular illusion. So within their tiny personal spheres folks chew their own tails believing that offensive things are really masterpieces of edgy comedy that the rest of us simply aren't hip enough to get.

The opposite is true, and in order to maybe better the Internet a little today I'm going to hand you some basic guidelines regarding whether or not your post is actually a joke.

Remember the Context: Here's the thing about Facebook... it's a blank page. I use mine for dick jokes, to prove I can cook chicken thighs like Colonel Sanders was my real dad, show off pictures of my daughter, gush about Doctor Who, and share liberal propaganda. There are no ground rules for your Facebook but the ones in your own head, and no one can see those rules because the day we have internet telepathy will be remembered by the lizard people who come after us as The Ape Wars.

Remember when Daniel Tosh went viral in a bad way because he responded to a heckler who said rape jokes were never funny with, "Wouldn't it be funny if she got raped right now?" Whether you think that reply is funny or not, the thing to remember is that someone went and saw Daniel Tosh, who is professionally mean to people who make YouTube videos, at a comedy club and then decided to speak up in a forum where hecklers are usually barbecued over the hottest words available to people who are masters of language at their angriest.

At a comedy club everything should at least be assumed to be a joke, and whether you think the joke is funny or not there is a set of behavioral rules that you not treat the performer the same way you would treat a random guy at a party because it's a different context. Facebook has none of that. No one is automatically going to assume that you are joking.

You Have to be REALLY Obvious You're Joking: Written humor is really, really difficult. You're robbed of all the power of tone of voice and body language. What's left are words that have to stand on their own without any explanation whatsoever, so you have to make them count.

Every time I write a story about sexism in gaming, or about Christianity, or about the nature of rape culture I have a small group of people who are rather well-versed in the subjects that I used to run the pieces by before publication just to get another perspective. These days, I've done it enough to predict how a pretty diverse group of people will react to any given subject I speak on, but that's because I taught myself how to look at pieces from an outsider's perspective. Before you hit "post", it's important to think not how much you like something but how others will like it. That's why it's called "sharing" and not "annoying".

This story continues on the next page.

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---->CRAIG KINSEY.<---

There!  Why hide the name? The Facebook Troll post you show is still on Craig Kinsey's  timeline and it's public - he's not hiding it. Clearly he thinks it's freaking hilarious and brilliant social commentary on "women and our silly society that honors people for accidents of birth and not contents of character" and that some people just can't understand his edgy sense of humor (which is surely inspired by a collection of Lockhorns comics and an Andrew Dice Clay joke-a-day calendar that he keeps by his nightstand). 

My reaction to Kinsey's post was pretty much captured in this clip:

followed by the realization that there are enough self absorbed dull witted trolls out there and I don't need to be following one on Facebook. 

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