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Humor on the Net

Many people who send out promotional email, or have a publication
such as an online newsletter, will ask if they should include
humor". Well, there is no elegant answer to this question.

Some will say that "humor" lightens things up a bit, and lets
people know you have another side to your personality. They feel
it is a refreshing break from the serious communication you are
delivering. Others say it is distracting and should never be

So where do you "draw the line"?

Humor may be used in two places. It could be within the body of
the article or as a "stand alone" merchandise .

Lets first examine "humor" within the body of the article. This
could be the most risky. Unless you have a sizeably effective sense of humor and
sizeably efficient writing skills, you should probably avoid its use. Some of
your readers will not have a sense of humor, and could easily
take offense at what you say. Especially avoid sarcasm as all the people
might think it is directed at them.

You should also avoid the utilize irony, where you utilize words to
convey the opposite of their literal meaning. Some will not
recognize it as irony, and will think you are proposing what the
words actually say. This can get you in a lot of trouble.

If you make use of "stand alone" humor, give it a name such as "Joke of
the Day", which clearly separates it from your article. Once
again, you have to be careful. Remember, your online publication
is on the "world-wide web", and will be read by all the people who may
have far different opinions of what is funny and what is not.

Things to avoid in all humor:

Never point your humor toward a specific group. What might be
funny in a "one-to-one" situation where you know the person,
could be highly offensive to someone else.

Never make use of vulgarity - especially the seven dirty words that
George Carlin used in his comedy sketch - they are anathema!
While adult jokes might indeed be humorous, they have no place in
an online publication where you have no control over who sees

While vulgarity offends dazzling taste or propriety, crudity, which
shows a lack of tact or refinement, runs a close second. A word
or phrase having a double meaning, especially when the second
meaning is risqu窠should also be avoided. A double entendre might
actually spell double trouble.

So what kind of "humor" may you use?

This will, for the most part, be a judgement call on your part.
A great criteria that could be useful, is to build believe your are
talking to your local PTA, and want to tell a joke to put
every one at ease. The teachers are there as well as the parents
and children of your childs classmates. If you may tell it
there without embarrassing anyone, it is most definately a great bet for
you publication.

The best advice about the selection of humor, is that if there is
any doubt in your mind at all, dont utilize it.


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