You have to start worrying a little when Secret Service doesn’t quite know how to translate sarcasm on places like Twitter without help of software. Considering they’re responsible for scoping out potential threats, and subtle ones at that, their new worry about sarcasm on social media seems to indicate overzealousness to a point where the real threats may get overlooked in favor of ones that don’t matter. Also, when you depend on software that’s a far cry from artificial intelligence, you face the problem of getting false definitions that may mean innocent people getting into trouble.
Regardless, it begs the question of how sarcastic social media has become to a point where we can’t tell who’s joking and who isn’t. Those with sharp radar to comedy can usually pick out sarcasm over the real thing. But for those apparently blind to sarcasm, how can they tell if the intention is real or not? Much of it has to do with measuring the outrageousness of the sarcasm in the first place. Also, what happens when all of us become so sarcastic that nothing seems genuine on social media any longer?
The Outrageous Level of a Sarcastic Tweet
If you spend any time on Twitter, then you know sarcasm is the near backbone of most tweets in your feeds. It doesn’t seem to matter what the subject is (other than tragic events), sarcasm is everywhere and puts the world in an ironic perspective. And even during major tragic events, some with overly dry sarcasm seem to have the chutzpah to post something overly ironic that still garners a few chortles. Those people may be the ones that the Secret Service are looking for in the event they’re a crazy terrorist blurting their intentions on social media for all to see.
What Secret Service likely doesn’t understand is that the funniest sarcasm is usually the most outrageous of statements. Those of us who sometimes do absurdist comments on Twitter sometimes say things that are so outrageous, everyone with a sharp comedic sense knows it isn’t real. It’s doubtful a piece of software would be able to scope out those subtleties, and only a person can measure it on their own based on the context and what might be said before and after.
When it comes to Twitter, what’s said around a tweet frequently puts the initial tweet in the proper perspective. There isn’t much difference when someone gives a speech and only one line gets quoted out of context. Unfortunately, far too many extrapolate one tweet and consider it one complete thought when some people take about six tweets to complete a thought.
One of the most common sarcastic comments that gives Secret Service the most fits is when someone says they want to kill someone. You see this comment at least a dozen times a day on Twitter, depending on how many people you follow. In all cases, though, it’s usually a sarcastic modifier at the end of a hilarious thought beforehand about a frustrating problem.
While those of us who love sarcasm revel in seeing it all over Twitter, are we really in danger of becoming so sarcastic, real sentiment isn’t taken seriously?
Sarcasm Getting in the Way of Being Real
It seems the only time we’re taken seriously is when some major tragedy happens and we all post sober thoughts about what happened. For those who stay sarcastic in all their posts, however, it may come at a disadvantage if you want to say something genuine to someone. If they already know you, that genuine comment may be taken as sarcasm rather than genuineness. It creates a problematic persona that many comedians find themselves in when they say something heartfelt.
Considering how many sarcastic people there are on Twitter and other social media, what will it do toward real conversation there in the future? Will we all be throwing around sarcastic comments about everything in order to process many of the frustrating news stories that get reported all over social media? Sarcasm sees to help put the world in an ironic perspective as a way of all of us being in this collectively and not wallowing in the negative side of the world.
Meanwhile, Secret Service may be just as sarcastic in their internal communications, perhaps on their own clandestine social media site. You have to wonder what kind of sarcasm they use about the President and the situations they find themselves in. In that regard, you’d think they could measure real threats personally and realize that most of the real ones are rarely going to be overly outrageous when comedic context surrounds the comment.
As we all become a collectively sarcastic society, we’ll evolve our radar in being able to tell the difference. Let’s just hope we can still find a way to jump from sarcasm to genuineness and be able to know which is which without second-guessing.