Dictionary.com defines sarcasm as: "A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule." Sure, but sarcasm is often not aimed at a person so much as a situation or place, or nouns in general. Take, for example, the following statement: Meetings are a great way to make friends and are really fun. Do you think I'm serious, or am I being sarcastic?
Thanks to a company named Sarcasm, Inc., you don't have to be confused about my intended meaning. For just $1.99 USD, you can download the SarcMark, a symbol that you insert into any text by typing this combination of keystrokes: Ctrl + >. You can use the SarcMark as a font when you know the receiver also has the SarcMark font installed, or as a graphic for when you don't think the other person is cool enough to have the SarcMark yet. You can even put it on your mobile device by going to SarcMark.com from your mobile device and following the prompts.
But the question about the SarcMark isn't so much can you use it-- after all, if you are running a SarcMark compatible platform and are willing to pony up $1.99 USD, then you most certainly can -- but rather, should you use it? I mean, if the guy on the other end of your message is too dense to get it, then doesn't that become part of the joke? If you are concerned that your sarcasm might be misunderstood and that would create a problem, then maybe it just isn't an appropriate time and place for sarcasm.
Don't get me wrong -- I love sarcasm; I spew sarcasm like a sailor spews foul language, and nothing gets me laughing like a well-placed, well-timed sarcastic comment. I just think that sarcasm ceases to be funny when you have to point it out, and quite frankly, I'm not excited to have to see some obnoxious symbol every time I get into a text conversation with my friends. I'm not saying it's not worth $1.99 (I love fonts in general, and I might ask to be given the SarcMark for Valentine's Day). I just think we should educate people on becoming more literate, rather than add symbols to our literature (even text-based conversations) to make it easier to read.
Would you use the SarcMark? Please share your thoughts about this new punctuation mark in the discussion.
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.