See that tweet in the graphic? I didn’t send that today.

It pokes fun at journalists, and I work with journalists for a living. In fact, I admire them a great deal IRL. (Let’s keep that a secret, though.)

Just like PR pros, journalists are usually smart, busy and underappreciated… with jobs that depend on their reputations.

So I paused, hit delete and lived to tweet another day. (I'm @bvar, by the way.)

Less than 140 characters isn’t always a great conduit for nuance – or humor. At least not in the hands of non-comedians.

This brings to mind a non-tweet from a few years ago, when my colleagues at the Verizon Foundation gave me a big, re-useable check so that I could participate in a photo op with a New Jersey non-profit where I was a board member. We had submitted, and been approved for, a $5,000 grant to support a program that helped kids in foster homes as a result of domestic violence.

The prop check was sitting in my office a few days later, when I put the finishing touches on a press release about Verizon’s buyout of Vodafone’s 45% interest in Verizon Wireless. The total cost would be $130 billion.

I used a dry eraser to wipe away “$5,000” and replace it with “$130,000,000,000.” I was about to replace “CASA for Children of Bergen County” with “Vodafone” – thinking about the photo I could tweet – when I paused.

I thought, “This is a very big deal for these two companies… for their shareowners… for the large retirement funds and pension plans that hold stock here.” It’s the kind of money that has impact on jobs created, taxes paid, new product development, infrastructure investment, philanthropy.

My efforts were better spent finishing the press release than staging a snarky photo. It’s all well and good to be authentic and irreverent, until someone gets hurt.

The other day, I happened to be carrying a tray of cookies (having volunteered to supply “snacks” the next time I called a late-morning team meeting) while news stories were being written about what others were calling Verizon’s use of cookies in Internet advertising programs.

A tweetable photo of a plate of Verizon cookies? How authentic! How irreverent! How of-the-moment!


No! The issue does not actually involve “cookies,” for starters. So maybe my efforts would better spent helping to explain this to journalists, something that takes more than a tweet – like this post.

To sum up… if you’ve read this far and you’re looking for authentic, irreverent, of-the-moment humor, let me just say this:

I highly recommend these new Ricky Gervais commercials.