Thursday, July 13, 2006

Getting It Straight About Sarcasm [S]

It seems that around 50 per cent of the time people misunderstand statements in e-mail, not realizing whether a particular sentence is meant to be straight or sarcastic.

So indicates a study discussed in an article by Teresa F. Linderman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Entitled E-mail writers often misunderstood, Linderman explains how e-mailers assume that they’re getting their message across in proper context, but the person on the other end is thrown off by the lack of body language, gestures, tone of voice, etc. involved in face-to-face conversation.

I know my own humor at times is so droll that people miss the point. Of course, one could always add the universal smiley emoticon-- :-) --to indicate sarcasm or humor, but I prefer the more direct [G] (for grin) symbol.

But even that is not precise enough. So I’ve created a pair of symbols to indicate whether I am being serious (straight) or sarcastic in a humorous way.

When making a serious statement –- without a whit of irony –- it will be followed by this symbol: [S]

When making a sarcastic statement –- loaded with humor –- it will be followed by this symbol: [S]

This should clear up any confusion that may arise about the tone of my online writing. [S]

1 comment:

Doug said...

Ah. [S] That clears up everything. [S] Make sure you copyright this remarkable system, so then when the rest of the world uses it we'll have to add extra notations [S]TM.

Personally, I have simply accepted that some people won't be able to distinguish sincerity from sarcasm. It becomes a bit of a litmus test, I suppose; if they don't get it, they're not worthy of getting it.

Oh right. [S]