When humour is cheep

By its very nature, Twitter lends itself to quick-fire humour. 140 characters rise like a soda bubble to the surface of the Twittersphere, have their brief burst, and then are gone. Although they can be logged and tracked by search engines, we tend to think of tweets as ephemeral and therefore we treat them with less discretion than we might other forms of communication. There have been two prime examples of this yesterday and today.

Yesterday card retailer Clinton’s announced that they were going into receivership. The twittersphere was replete with quips about this being ‘on the cards’, and I have to confess that a wry smile crossed my lips. That said, 8000 people woke to a grey recession morning to find that they were likely to lose their jobs. I’m not sure they would have found the tweets quite so funny.

This morning, as is often the case, Twitter was my first port of call for news. It was there that I discovered that 84 year-old hair stylist Vidal Sassoon had died. This was announced with the words “Vidal Sassoon has dyed” followed by another tweet speculating as to whether it was “too Sassoon” to make such a quip? I suspect that his wife ,three children and grandchildren might have felt that it was. Once again, I appreciated the wry humour, but felt uncomfortable with the timing.

Those of us who enjoy micro-blogging love its quick-fire banter and its tolerance of the half-baked rather than the fully formed opinion. Its ephemeral nature is part of its appeal. However, perhaps we should pause once in a while before hitting the send button and ask how it might be read. This is especially so for those who count themselves as #digidisciples, carrying their Christian identity from offline to online. As a tweet might say #justsayin.

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