Having a sense of humour can land you in hot water, sometimes without even realising it. We think “That’s just not funny mate!” more often than we declare it to a would be comedy star. It’s a real boost when we find something funny and this post encourages it. This post explains that a decent percentage of people are offended by misplaced humour, it can damage a reputation and why it is so counter productive.
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What’s wrong with having a sense of humour?
Nothing. Just remember that it’s like an opinion. It’s yours and has developed because you are the only person to have your life experiences. You may have a thick skin. Others may not.
If you don’t want to offend people, then don’t try to be funny. Especially if you’re using social media to engage people. If there is a subject matter in the joke, then you are likely to offend someone. Don’t risk it. Stick to humour that doesn’t reference others – no matter how topical the reference may be.
This survey showed how 31% of people felt harassed by other people’s attempts at humour. Would you tell a joke to a group of clients if you’re at tisk of offending a good deal of them? No! So don’t offend your future clients and introducers who are keeping up to date with you online.
Why do people get it so wrong?
The main reason humour goes awry is down to a stunning lack of empathy. Another is that they sometimes don’t realise that they have an audience, and that people are reading stuff online and not commenting. For example, plenty people shout at their TV. Very few write to Points of View.
We all make mistakes, yet some are easier to forgive than others. Social Media is great, in that it enables you to engage directly with any negative feedback or complainants. They say that having a presence on the internet enables you to drown out negative vibes. While this may be true in most cases, it’s hardly an effective use of social media if you created the vibes yourself.
Why does it matter?
People spend a lot of time building their reputation online (I say “spend” because time wasted is an opportunity cost). So it makes no sense to alienate people that may be offended by something that they do not consider to be exceptionally witty, but ultimately harmless. Not everyone will share an appreciation for the same humourous insights.
It’s difficult to recommend people who make massive errors of judgement online. There isn’t enough room here to list them all the reasons why. Suffice to say there are loads of “safer” people who you can introduce without any risk to your own reputation.
Wrap up: I’ve seen people spend years building an online reputation and then make one single comment which makes them very difficult to introduce. Those that see a misplaced joke online might not be around to see the apology.
Top tip: People like to be amused. We all have a sense of humour and having a barometer of taste before you publish would be ideal. Failing that, buy a joke book.
Who to share this with: People you want to engage with. Especially if they used to introduce you.
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