I’ve been writing jokes on twitter for half a decade, primarily to funnel thoughts away from my mouth at inopportune moments. I’ve learned a thing or two about what folks like and don’t. Here are a few tips:
Short observation? Add a punchline!
Let’s say that you wrapped up tweeting an observation and had more than 30 characters left unused. Ask yourself, can I fit a joke here?
I'm just gonna say right now, the world is ripe for MATRIX references to make a comeback. Even so, I can only show you the door.
— Joe Hills (@joehills) August 24, 2014
This especially works well for quick complaints. Use the extra space to make it clear how ludicrous the problem truly is:
why is Twitter sending me weekly retrospectives of my own activity. I KNOW, Twitter, I was there when I posted that picture of poutine
— Katie Tiedrich (@katietiedrich) May 20, 2014
Know your audience
This joke works because John Debay’s followers share his passion for code and design:
The Xcode 6 icon is still too skeumorphic. It’s been years since I’ve used a hammer to write my code.
— John A. Debay (@debay) June 2, 2014
This joke doesn’t work at all because no one who follows me knows the Divergent author’s name.
— Joe Hills (@joehills) March 24, 2014
Treat trending topics as writing prompts
When you see a formulaic hashtag like #fakeFirstTweets or #newSATQuestions trending, read a few of the tweets and attempt to interject your own. They won’t all be winners:
Hey, does anyone else near Concord hear musket fire? #fakeFirstTweets
— Joe Hills (@joehills) March 20, 2014
But sometimes they can be:
#newSATquestions May the _____ be with you. A. velocity B. acceleration C. force D. inertia
— Joe Hills (@joehills) March 12, 2014
Keep at it!
It takes time to get to know your audience and figure out your own style. Don’t hesitate to ask followers what works and what doesn’t:
Is it funny for us all to tattoo "You are being watched." on our wrists? You could cover it with an actual watch for job interviews.
— Joe Hills (@joehills) December 9, 2013
Remember, there’s no pressure!
be careful what you post online because future employers might see it and want to hang out with you because you’re so cool
— Zombië Queen (@TheQuinnspiracy) December 3, 2013