You may or may not be aware that recently a large group of sci-fi enthusiasts signed a petition to the United States government for them to create plans for and budgets to build a genuine Death Star. Obviously a tongue-in-cheek poke at the government, pretty much everyone expected to either be ignored, to get a bland canned response or to, with luck, ‘poke the tiger’ and get some official ranting about the populous.
Essentially, they were trolling.
What they got, was something completely unexpected. A witty, thorough response that had it’s pulse spot-on with the culture of the people who signed the petition in the first place.
Now, I’m not usually a fan of our government’s ability to handle… just about anything… but I literally laughed out loud when I read this response. What’s more than that, I actually learned more about our government’s activity’s than I’d ever bothered to research before.
The response was dead on perfect for what the petition was. I think we can learn a lot from it.
When we get into the culture and mindset of the people we’re building relationships with, even tactless harassment can be turned in your favor. Tasteful, appropriate humor can turn tides of people who might have been just trying to get a laugh at your expense.
A word of caution in this. The safest humor is humor where the joke is on you. Be careful about poking fun at other people. The internet or any other text-based media is dangerously difficult to get a humorous statement across. However, when you’re making fun of yourself, you’re gold!