For as long as I can remember, I was never the funny guy. I was farthest from the class clown, complete with the Michael J. Fox wardrobe that ensured I’d be the butt of jokes. Somehow I would often to get in trouble for what that clown did, which made me simultaneously furious with and jealous of really funny people. I must admit that much of this persists more than two decades hence.
I would like to think that my sense of humor has improved, along with my ability to be humorous. Isn’t it true that we all find our friends with the best senses of humor among our favorites?
Content of humor is one thing. But timing and delivery are critically important as well. The immediacy, temporal context and tonal challenges of the Internet amplify the degree of difficulty to the successful delivery of humor by a significant amount.
Only highly deft humorists and satirists can successfully deliver humor via social networks in words only (viral videos do not apply here). Indeed, humor runs the constant risk of, and often relies upon, being offensive. The cursory way we “know” our “friends” and “followers” in our social media circles increases the odds of offending them by several orders of magnitude.
I failed at that in a most epic and embarrassing way quite recently because I didn’t know one of my friends well enough.
Therefore my advice to you is this. If you are not entirely certain that your voice will be heard in the way that you intend it, do NOT post a reply, tweet, comment or other internet black hole of permanence. File it away and save it for the rare occasions when you can intimate it the old fashioned way: in person.
Barring that, it really is ok to leave some things unsaid.