Skip links


Not Just Joking Around: The Strategy Behind Humor

Posted At: February 6, 2013 8:00 P.M.
by Martina Kaiwi

Post Grad Problems began documenting life after college in 2010. Since then, post-grads from all over the world have come together to share their hilarious stories via Twitter, Facebook or blog . PGP has recently partnered with Grandex Inc., an undergraduate comedy website, to make shirts to illustrate the idea “just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean you can’t wear a tee shirt.” PGP uses humor to educate, entertain and profit from its key message: life after school may be scary, but there are others who share your plight.

The benefits of using humor to communicate include standing out from the academic drones, being memorable and broadcasting to a wider audience. Humor is a tool that unites, in this case, poor post-graduate students learning how to live in the professional environment. I believe humor is an appropriate tool of communication when used correctly. However, you must know your audience before you start telling your joke.

PGP understands how its audience comes to them to laugh about the stresses of life after school. For example, PGP talks about awkward workplace moments, applying for jobs, buying a house, watching all your friends get married and the list goes on.

The challenges of communicating through humor are pretty simple. The general rule is, what you think is funny is not always funny to everybody. The best way to avoid losing your message is to establish communication that reflects the mission or culture of the organization that you represent.

Start by researching your target audience. Basic observation can help you determine the relevance, timeliness and impact of your message. With simple research tools such as focus groups and surveys, your target audience will become clearer. Once the target is established, it is easy to develop a strategy.

A great way to evaluate your communication is to include options where readers can provide feedback. It is important to analyze this data and apply it to your communication strategy. If the numbers don’t match up, change your strategy and change your joke!

PGP takes the risk of offending other online readers due to its crude humor. I believe it is a necessary evil when writing online. PGP successfully illustrates the internal dialogue of post-grad life and gives readers a chance to laugh about real life issues.

Return to top of page