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Tickling Your Readers Funny Bone – Using Humor in Blogging

200612112158I’ll admit right up front that I’m not the best at this – in fact on almost every occasion that I’ve attempted to inject humor into blog posts I’ve managed to offend, confuse or mislead one reader or another. Do as I say – not as I do and proceed with caution!

Humor is a powerful thing when it comes to communication and has the potential to engage your reader on an emotional level.

Not everyone will succeed with it – but if you’ve got something funny to share don’t be afraid to share it.

A Word (or four) of Warning:
Of course – keep in mind that everything that goes up on your blog has the potential to add to or detract from your blog. As a result – when using humor consider asking yourself:

  • is it relevant to your topic? – telling a joke just for the sake of it might not add anything (in fact it could be a distraction)
  • could it be misunderstood? – blogging is global medium – is your humor global in it’s appeal? Could it do more harm than good to your reputation?
  • is it actually funny? – I’ve just become a Dad – as a result my humor has apparently gone to the dogs (Dad jokes now abound). Perhaps it’s worth running your joke by someone before hitting publish
  • use sarcasm with caution – while I love sarcasm (and use it a lot in real life) I’ve discovered it generally doesn’t translate in a written form and is consistently misinterpreted. Use it with caution.

I hope that doesn’t dissuade you from using humor in your posts completely as it does have a place in blogging and can be a powerful way of engaging with readers.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Cory O'Brien says:

    I try to use a lot of humor in my posts, and I’d say that the most important part of using humor is to cater it to your audience. If you are writing to a specific audience, and the sarcasm/joke/ism is in common use or easily understood by your audience, it will be well received.

  2. John Wesley says:

    I totally agree. It always makes an impression when I read something genuinely funny, but I really hate reading bad humor. Humor is the most difficult type of writing in my opinion.

  3. BEWARE SARCASM! I’ve burned myself pretty badly with this one. If you’re going to be sarcastic, use an emoticon to let your reader’s know what you’re doing.

    Another tip: if your readers are web/code savvy, you can make a joke out it like this:

    This is a sarcastic statement

  4. My comment above doesn’t make a lot of sense, as the code was stripped out of the last sentence. It should read:

    this is a sarcastic statement

  5. I moderately use humor on my blog for a few reasons. First, my blog is more of a news/informing blog and as such humor is only appropriate in certain posts. Second, humor needs to be scarce on this type of blog because for a post to get its objective across to readers you can’t cloud their focus too much on unnecessary humor.

  6. I love reading humorous or witty blogs. Some of scobleizer.com’s posts are great fun to read.

    At the end of the day I think it’s about being authentic. If you try to force humour then it won’t work. If you can write your blog the way you talk, then for most people, this will result in higher readability and your readers will find you more approachable.

    If you’re not very good at writing humour then I would suggest adding humorous quotes and/or pictures (checking copyright first of course!).

  7. Jimmylee says:

    Hey.. humor as anything else is based on perception.

    not every joke is funny to everyone…. that’s the problem.

  8. I tend to fall back on the old, reliable emote. *smile* It makes sure folks know what I’m saying because I’m literally telling them my mood or telling actions as I write. Emotes are a lot more personal than emoticons as well. Emoticons tend to feel plastic and be terribly overused. Whether it is humor, or just honesty you are going for, emotes are a great way to get the feel across as well as the words.

  9. 50 Blogs says:

    Yes. The last thing we want to do is upset our readers. Sort of defeats the purpose of having a blog anyway!

  10. Alex says:

    Come on… let’s get serious… I discover that I’ve tried all of the tips you gave in this series: personal touch, humour, etc.. ; still, no big success: although I have great content, I still am at below 100 readers/day. Please, give me real tips to enlarge my readership, please!

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Hi Alex,

    sorry but this series is on being more personal in your blogging – not finding readers. You might like one of my previous posts on finding readers though if that’s the topic you’re after. There’s plenty more in my archives on that topic too.

  12. Alfred Chew says:

    Thanks for the valueble Tips. Will try to make my blog livelier. :)

  13. Marti says:

    Being funny is hard. And it is indeed impossible to please all of the people, all of the time. I have written posts that I thought were hysterical and had them fall flat on their little blog-faces.

    Genuine-osity (will that make it as a word, like Steven Colbert’s “truthiness”? LOL) is the most important. If something made you actually smile or laugh out loud in real life, it is more likely to resonate with your readers, than a forced pun.

    Best wishes for a glorious holiday season!

  14. Simba's Mom says:

    I have a sarcastic sense of humor in everyday life, but I have found it does not always translate well to the written word. I definitely find myself editing the humor out of posts out of fear I will be misunderstood.

  15. Adam says:

    I write what’s supposed to be a humor/satire blog, but I will agree that sometimes the sarcasm doesn’t translate. I recently posted a piece suggesting that if Michael Richards had a corporate policy guide to follow, his outburst would have never happened… umm, yeah, based on the comments I received, they didn’t get it. I also found that you have to be careful with the way you tag your blogs when you write humor. If you’re writing a witty bit about Jesus, you may not want to use the tags Jesus or religion… not everyone one in those categories is there for a laugh.

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