On Tone

I had a housemate ask me the other night, “What does it mean to be snarky?” Snarky. Well, snarky is somewhere between sarcastic and biting and true and funny. Snarky goes for the laugh. And the internet is full of snarky. In fact, the internet is the best place for snarky — audiences fall in love with the Arlington Rap, for instance.

But of the 574 posts I have done on MiddBlog, how many times did I really do “snarky” right? I think there was a point that would have taken it as a compliment if someone were to describe MiddBlog as snarky. But what I really wanted was for students to feel the tone of MiddBlog as authentic. And I may have tried to be snarky only to access that authenticity.

Authenticity is a word we discuss at the NPR social media desk a lot. The bottom line: be genuine and don’t fake it. Don’t fake the snarky to gain authenticity, it doesn’t work.

If my natural tone isn’t snarky, then what is it?