SA Satire: Comedy or Social Commentary?

by Niki Messmore

Student affairs is known as a ‘fun’ field. After all, when your conventions include respected scholars, innovative workshops, drag shows, organized cheers, and a ‘big gay dance’, how could you not be fun?!
Our sense of humor is outstanding but some folks have wondered – is it ever off-putting?
Last week #FailedNASPASessionProposals began trending, thanks to tweets by Pete Pereira, and amassed around 1,000 tweets over several days. Tweets consisted of silly humor – but not so silly that it does not speak to some social commentary. Tweets under the hashtag included:

  • How to be innovative in Student Affairs: Do what the private sector did 5 years ago – @jeffjackson
  • I got my masters for this? – @AValiavska
  • Finding Mr. White: Hiring Your Next SSAO – @mcamike
  • Navigating the new combined ACPA/NASPA – @chrisconzen
  • We Totally Value Individuality, Unless You Have Visible Tattoos or Piercings – @MarciKWalton

There was critique that perhaps the hashtag was too negative, or at the very least it was speaking to some very real issues within the field that needed to be processed.

  • Using #FailedNASPASessionProposals: How to Sub-Tweet an Entire Profession – @js_hicks
  • Am I the only one having conflicting feelings towards the #FailedNASPAsessionProposals posts?-@AnnieGreaney
  • I hope someone is archiving #FailedNASPASessionProposals; not for the humor, but to identify trends/themes of unrest in #studentaffairs – @StacyLOliver

Yet there were many others who disagreed, and said that folks were reading too much into it.

This isn’t the only example of social media methods to make fun of the field. The popular tumblr accounts WhatShouldWeCallStudentAffairs and Student Affairs Grad Student regularly make witty remarks coupled with gif; not to mention all of the other accounts related to functional areas like Stories from the RA and Admissions Problems. And of course there is an endless amount of joke SA accounts (some are better than others – or as one SA colleague states, they are all a joke).

What are your thoughts? Is this all good-spirited fun? Or do some of these social media trends speak to some issues that we should work on resolving, rather than joking about? Please consider leaving a comment or tweeting at @NikiMessmore.

SA Satire: Comedy or Social Commentary?