Why government shouldn't have a sense of humor

You’ve heard it before… social media is a cocktail party. You have to be interesting and interact. Lurk at a cocktail party and you will get bored. Even worse your friends will get bored of you and not invite you again. So get stuck in there.

The problem is that this is a metaphor… Being funny at a cocktail might be ok. Being amusing on social media? Not always. Not for the first time I put forward this view at a discussion between politicians and social media scholars in Borås.

Here I argued that tone of voice is important and government bodies should be wary of social media. In particular I used examples of the police in a Swedish town creating and using their own Gangnam Style parody. I tried to explain that this was problematic in relation to copyright law, use of government property and the way in which the police are to be perceived.

Not everyone agreed. They argued funny was good for government and that parodying popular memes could only create a popular buzz. We agreed to disagree. So today, not without a touch of schadenfreude, I read this on Torrentfreak:

Four mayors in Denmark now know what it’s like to become a target of an international recording label out for blood over copyright. The controversy stems from the publication of a YouTube video featuring the officials dancing to Gangnam Style. Universal Music, the company holding the copyright to the original track, have warned the mayors that unless they pay $42,000 by tomorrow, a copyright infringement battle will follow.

Supposing they “chose” to pay rather than going to court my question is who should pay? Should the Danish taxpayer be forced to pay for the mayors’ lack of judgement? Or is it a personal liability? Shouldn’t the mayors been doing something better with their time that attempting to follow the tail end of a dying meme?

So the next time someone questions my ideas about the importance that government bodies not have a sense of humor I shall ask if they can afford their own amusement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.