Another dot in the blogosphere?

When is funny not funny?

Posted on: April 13, 2017


Video source

The video above summarises this week’s flogged horse on social media. The tweet below was just one of many responses.

Was this tweet timely? It was, given how the news broke about how a passenger was bloodied and dragged out of a United Airlines plane because it was overbooked.

Was the tweet funny? Yes, if you have any semblance of humour and appreciate dragging in two contexts (plane floor and phone screen).

Was the app description real? It was not, and there are at least two major clues that the text was faked to get a laugh.

First, an airline app is unlikely to feature drag and drop on a phone screen. Drag and drop is typically done with a computer mouse on a desktop. The phone or slate equivalent is tap and hold, but there is no this does not force the joke.

Second, a quick search of the Apple app store for United Airlines brings up the app and its development notes. There is no “drag and drop” update.

Why make a mountain out of a molehill?

First, the tweet could be an example of a hook for a workshop or class on detecting fake news or other questionable online content. Such an ability is important whether it is a tweet from a US President or a local funny man.

Second, it begs the question: Why create the image, tweet it, retweet it, or favourite it? Answering this question provides insights on why people create such content. It gets to the root of the issue instead of dealing with the symptoms.

I appreciate the joke, but I appreciate the need to educate people on this type of critical thinking even more.

So when is funny not actually funny? When it is based on a false premise. When are facts not actually factual? The same answer as before.

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