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May 2nd, 2011

 
by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

We came up for the idea of this post in chat as we were both were feeling frustrated by different kinds of snark. Political snark, social snark, snark against other writers, against our spouses, against the world in general. Sometimes it seems like nine out of ten tweets are nothing but snark. And then there’s Facebook and blog posts and news articles and even entire websites like The Onion dedicated to nothing but snark. Both of us love The Onion, actually, but when combined with the general snarkiness (yes, that IS a word) of the world, even it becomes too much. It’s become impossible to spend any amount of time on a social media platform without being inundated by snark.

It’s exhausting.

So, what exactly is “snark”? Do we need to define it? What makes us feel compelled to indulge in it so often? Why exactly is it so pervasive, and so addictive? We asked each other, and neither one of us could come up with an answer. We just both knew we were sick to death of it.

The question is, what is the alternative? Have you ever tried to spend a day on Twitter without using snark? Sometimes it seems like even a benign post about puppies being cute can end up in Snarktown.

HappyTweeter: My daughter said the cutest thing!

SnarkyTweeter: I’m so sick of everybody talking about their kids. As if we care.

HappyTweeter: My husband brought me flowers!

SnarkyTweeter: Nice to constantly be reminded of my single state. Being married isn’t everything.

HappyTweeter: I have a new book out?

SnarkyTweeter: Why do authors think we want to see them constantly shoving their books down our throats.

HappyTweeter: I give up.
Possibly, we’re exaggerating, and yet, not really. Not by very damn much. Even writing this post, trying to explain how much we hate snark, ends up sounding like snark. At the very least, it will undoubtedly invite snark. Which is why we decided to do this post together, one, because it’s so tough, and two, because this way we can try to temper each other’s snark. And because it felt best to talk about it as a conversation, we decided to do it as another one of our back-and-forth chats.

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