Are you trying to be funny? If so check [ ] this box

The return of the irony tag

After ten years of the net, few amongst us have yet to realize that computer networks can be a lousy communication medium. Against all the good things that we’ve gained – such as the disappearance of physical distance, traversed by very slow moving postal workers – we must stack up the losses. And top of that list is the fact that most of the delicious ambiguities of language that we enjoy in everyday life simply aren’t conveyed online.

While today’s hive-minded tech evangelists view their digital exchanges as a kind of telepathy, it’s more like a stuttering Morse Code tapped out on a keyboard where the dash key isn’t working.

So all kinds of hilarious misunderstandings ensue. Factor in the frightful earnestness and literalism of some participants, who seem to be disproportionately represented online, and huge swathes of meaning are guaranteed to go undetected.

This is one of our favorite examples.
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Harvard Man in lesbian mix-up wants satire clearly labeled

Draq queen causes Podcast confusion

The two fathers of ‘podcasting’ have called for jokes and satirical broadcasts to be clearly labelled as such, after they were bamboozled by a comic female impersonator.

Two “bloggers” – former MTV video jockey Adam Curry and former software developer Dave Winer cooked up the idea of enclosing audio files in some XML code so they could be pulled off the web onto a portable device – a nifty, if not terrible original idea. With real,grassroots webcasting itself in mortal danger, its seems an odd distraction. The Webcaster Alliance is locked in epic battle with the RIAA over the right to distribute art, but instead of supporting them, these bloggers have other priorities, and top of the list is the right to be able to burp at home, and then broadcast it over the fabled Interweb. Unscripted burps are particularly welcome.

And so not surpringly, people have taken the idea and run with it, making their own burpy broadcasts in their kitchens, and shoving them up on the web. For a week on their own burpy ‘show’, Curry and Winer rebroadcast the adventures of a podcaster they admired, one Yeast Radio’s Madge Weinstein.
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62pc of netizens unaware of Pajamahadeen militants

New research suggests that the internet’s echo chamber has much thicker walls than scientists previously thought. So thick, it seems, that an explosion the size of the Blogosphere can barely be detected in the real world. At best, only some faint, metallic clanging sounds can be heard outside – the eerie sound of the Pajamahadeen [UK English: Pyjamahadeen] inside the chamber, hammering away at their computer keyboards.

The research was conducted by good-news foundation the Pew Trust in the United States, and it contains some warming statistics for weblog militants.

More than a quarter of US internet users (27 per cent) had read a weblog at one time or another; 12 per cent had at least once posted a comment on a weblog. But almost two thirds (62 per cent) of net users didn’t know what a weblog is – let alone how one can be safely disarmed.
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