Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

The Hump Day Humor Gram Issue #17, September 25, 2002

Please feel free to forward this, reverse it, pause it, copy it, paint it,
make a nice hat out of it, pass it on to your boss, e-mail it to yourself . .

In this issue . . .

1. Happy 🙂 Anniversary
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip E-Humor
3. Quote of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World
1. Happy 🙂 Anniversary

Yes, that little e-mail icon that means “I AM KIDDING” or “I AM HAPPY” or
“I am just too darn lazy to write out a full sentence telling you that I am happy or just kidding,” turned 20 years old this past week. 🙂

The symbol was first typed into an e-mail message by IBM computer researcher Scott Fahlman, on September 19, 1982. It makes me 🙂 just thinking about it.

There are now, of course a whole raft of “emoticons” that provide e-mailers a shorthand way of expressing their emotions. 🙂

If you want wink at someone over the internet, you simply type 😉
To show surprise you type :-O (Whatever happened to the exclamation mark!)
To show you are sad, of course 🙁
And to show you are asking a question or confused: ?
(Are these handy or what??!)

So as we mark this auspicious anniversary and ponder the fact that an estimated 7 billion e-mail messages go out a year, it might be a good time to reflect
on the use of humour in e-mails. 🙂

Are you done reflecting? Excellent. My two cents for this HumpDay Express is simply this: Be wary of sending along unsafe, inappropriate types of humor to co-workers. In more and more organizations, big brother is watching what you send. And an increasing number of folks have even been fired for sending inappropriate humor across cyberspace. Others are rightfully concerned about computer viruses being passed along, while many, many other folks are complaining about the volume of “stupid joke stuff” that clogs up their day.
So my advice: Go SUPER easy when forwarding those wacky attachments.

My second word of caution is simply this. Remember what many humorists have said before me: The written word does not smile. Humor can come across very differently in written form because so much of our humorous exchanges depend on tone of voice, body language, gestures and facial expressions.

So, although I know some people loathe the little fella’ :-), there are times when it might come in handy to clarify your emotional intent behind a statement.

Have a 🙂 day!
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip – E-Humor

Let us carry on with the e-mail theme. Now that I’ve warned you about some of the dangers of e-humor, for goodness sake don’t back away from using it!

So many people are highly stressed about their e-mail messages, so adding a little light touch to messages, as long as you practice safe humor and know your audience, can hopefully help “lighten the load.”

Here’s a few simple things you can do:

Buy a humorous quote dictionary and add a quote of the day to you e-mail messages or signature file.

Add something funny to your e-mail signature.

Add a humorous question of the day, deep thought or piece of work-related

Keep your e-mail messages professional, but, when appropriate, also keep them casual in tone. A little relevant humor can soften a serious message, warm up folks to your requests and perhaps even get a speedier response from them.
3. Quote of the Week

“They’ve finally invented the perfect computer. When it makes a mistake, it blames another computer.” Anon.
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

As reported this week in the Globe and Mail Newspaper:

A farmer was having problems with beavers flooding his property. He didn’t have the heart to shoot him, so he tried a creative approach. He cranked up the radio and blasted out CBC radio all night, and much to his dismay, it worked! The beavers, not known as fans of talk radio, moved on to greener, and presumably, quieter pastures.
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2002

Michael Kerr, “The Workplace Energizer” is the author of 5 books,
including When Do You Let the Animals Out? and You Can’t Be Serious!
Putting Humor to Work. Michael delivers keynote talks and workshops
on humor in the workplace, business creativity and public speaking

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