Twitter is funny. Actually, The Onion’s tweets are funny. And idislikestephen, and monkeysee, and David Pell, and…you get the point. I troll Twitter looking for my humorous “tweet” fix on a semi-regular basis. I’m not sure it’s as bad as my coffee problem, but it’s a habit.
The New York Times ran a story this past Sunday entitled Writer’s New Form: Tweet-Up Comedy. It’s a great read about how writers for late night talk shows use Twitter as their testing ground for zingers. It is entirely possible, after reading it, that I spent several hours on Twitter scouring these types of tweets while snorting in an incredibly unattractive way.
Tweeting is perfect for concision. It’s also perfect for working on voice, satire, and humor–all things that quite often elude teens in their own writing.
This weekend we’ll examine a series of tweets and discuss how to implement students’ tweets to build voice/humor.
1. Have students read The New York Times Article and SOAPSTone it. I wouldn’t be a good English teacher if this wasn’t step #1. Sue me. [Actually, please don’t. I’m never going to be successful if I keep inviting everyone I know to do that.]
- Why is a tweet a good medium for humor/satire/comedy?
- What does the use of Twitter by comics and writer suggest about tech/culture?
2. Give students some professional models of humorous tweets. Start with those included in the article and supplement with those below if needed.
- Identify the elements that create humor in these tweets.
- What does 140 characters do to humor?
- What role do #hashtags play in humor?
All of this should serve as a good starting point for creating their own humor-infused tweets. We’ll talk about how to get them to tweak voice while tweeting tomorrow.
Note to Self: These are by no means the end all be all of funny tweets. Look at them as a good starting point.