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The Not So Funny Pages

Off Sides 200I was a comedian and performer in Chicago for over 6 years. Even though I haven’t taken the stage in over 3 years I still feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what’s funny.  I understand comedy is all relative, and I am not enough of a comedy snob to pretend that somebody is definitely wrong if they think something is funny that I don’t. That is, of course, unless it’s Bitstrips.

One of the worst things about social media is being constantly reminded of how many people incorrectly believe they’re witty. Never has there been a clearer example than this Bitstrips phenomenon. If you downloaded this app without really thinking it through and got caught up in the feeling that you could be like Jim Davis, it’s ok. I can’t judge; after all, I actually paid to join JibJab a few years ago. However, if you are a funny person then you know that there is nothing funny or creative about Bitstrips. So that just means that 11 million unfunny people have downloaded an app encouraging them to try to be funny publicly. God help us. I’m not going to call anybody out, but the Bitstrips I’ve seen in my Facebook newsfeed so far have been cringeworthy. I never thought I would say this but I’d much rather see your opinion on politics or religion than a poorly crafted avatar of yourself with a painfully corny thought bubble protruding out of its stupid head. It seems I’m not alone, as I browse the internet I see several articles about the immediate backlash on this annoying trend.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites have given us all a false sense of confidence and importance. The people posting Bitstrips are the same people who would never feel secure enough in their sense of humor to make a funny comment in front of a group of strangers. I am guilty of this too; I am quick to fire off a political status on Facebook, but in my real-world conversations with people I’ve always been severely uncomfortable debating politics or religion. And do I really believe anybody besides me wants to see a picture of my cat? I guess if I thought about it the answer is no, but that doesn’t stop me from posting a pic every time he’s sleeping in what I think is a funny position. Bitstrips is just the culmination of a growing problem with social media. We are all competing with our newsfeed to be funnier, smarter, and post better pictures. This is all driven by our human want to be liked and important. I know when I post a status on Facebook that gets fewer than 5 likes I start to wonder if there is even a point to go on living. All of this attention-seeking on social networking sites is inadvertently allowing people to see under the hood of our daily lives to a much higher degree than they ever could before.

Most of us go through our daily lives aware of how others are perceiving us. We think before we speak and act, and we take care to present ourselves in a dignified way while maintaining some level of privacy. All of that seems to go out the window when we log on to social networking sites. I think it’s past time that we all start thinking before we post.


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