Pete Davison: Endless Punning

Posted on April 11, 2011 by

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Oh, Twitter. You know I love you. But there are times when being with you is like being stuck in a convention of Dads. And then being stuck in a time-slowing-down machine. For several days, in many cases.

I am, of course, referring to the endless streams of puntastic hashtag humour. Now don’t get me wrong, some of these collections of nonsense are genuinely amusing—but the fact they seem to go on interminably until they have outstayed their welcome by a considerable margin is something which… I don’t know that it “bothers” me as such, but let’s just say it sometimes makes me glad of the “mute” function in Twitter apps such as Echofon.

Take today. Someone—I couldn’t say who—started a #gamejournalistpickuplines hashtag and proceeded to post a few witty innuendoes themed around the common things games journalists are accused of, issues they have to deal with regularly and things that they often say. Funny—assuming you’re in the know. And if you’re following game journalists on Twitter, chances are you are at least a little bit “in the know”.

Hmm… is “funny” quite accurate? Well, yes. At least until it gets to 10pm in the evening and it’s still going, and all the Americans who have now woken up have started making the same jokes that all the Europeans made six hours ago. It’s an occupational hazard of dealing with a worldwide service such as Twitter, of course, but it does mean you tend to get bombarded with the same shite hour after hour after hour.

But now wait a minute. Back up a sec, take a moment to look at this from a distance. As woeful as some of the puns and innuendoes might be, it’s actually kind of cool to see people from such disparate parts of the world coming together—even if it’s just to make a few lame jokes. There have been people from all over the globe contributing to the hashtag—and it’s the same every time something equally inane, childish and briefly amusing (such as #replacegamenamewithboner) comes up. Funny for a bit, relatively easily ignored (unless certain people who shall remain nameless are online) and interminable.

I guess, then, we all have to get used to the fact that one joke can indeed be strung out for hours, days, weeks, months thanks to the power of social media. Don’t even get me started on the “fake” Twitter accounts for various celebrities, video games, industry figures.

Or, you know, perhaps I should stop being such a curmudgeon.

(Clarification for anyone about to make an indignant comment about their right to indulge in hashtag humour: I don’t mind it really. I just find myself tending to observe such things from the outside and not joining in. Largely because I’m awful at coming up with puns and jokes on the spot. You knock yourself out, and if replacing parts of game names with “boner” makes you happy, then you just keep on truckin’.)

Day 449
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Posted in: Pete Davison