In my time as a writer I have been involved in three critique groups where I was given very valuable input. Sometimes it hurt. But it’s always in the spirit of giving and change for the better. And in that vein, I’d like to suggest a new universal rule—no one should write “ha ha” after what they conceive to be a joke in an email or text.* Anymore. Anywhere.
Now it’s good to back up criticism with information or facts.
- People should be allowed to figure out if something is funny for themselves
- If you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny. Same logic with the “ha ha,” if you have to imply that it’s funny it might not be.
- If you think you’re funny but unsure, and the “ha ha” is a nervous tick, go to an open mike at a comedy club. You will find out if you’re funny very quickly and then you’ll either drop the “ha ha” because you will no longer be insecure or you will drop it because you realize you’re not funny.
- You know you’re putting that in there so that you get an LOL back.
Now let me make it clear. I’m ok with the lol. I think it’s an honest response and I use it responsibly. Lower case to denote small giggle or chuckle, uppercase when it really has been out loud. And let me caution you to also use them in moderation and efficiently, because you are in no small way responsible for the Ha Ha Monster —they’ve come to believe they’re funny because of too liberal use of lol. I’m even ok with the smiley face. That’s just a safety net to make sure the other side knows you’re kidding. Because it is hard to convey humor. I get that.
But when it comes to the ha-ha, I recommend you laugh to yourself when you think something’s funny. Let’s not make the Ha Ha and the LOL into the laugh track of modern society. Otherwise one day children will have lost their sense of humor the same way that people think How I Met Your Mother is funny. Because they’re been told it is.
*And bloggers or those interested in blogging, that goes double for you.