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Meet the man behind the SEC’s dad jokes on Twitter

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is best known as the no nonsense arm of U.S. financial law.
  • But Shamoil Shipchandler takes his role at the organization's Fort Worth office a little more humorously.
  • Shipchandler told CNBC he is the one who has "tweeted hundreds of jokes" from the organization's Twitter account.
SEC Fort Worth Regional Office’s Director Shamoil T. Shipchandler addresses a group as part of the SEC’s mission to promote investor education and awareness.
SEC
SEC Fort Worth Regional Office’s Director Shamoil T. Shipchandler addresses a group as part of the SEC’s mission to promote investor education and awareness.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is best known as the no nonsense arm of U.S. financial law.

But one regional branch takes its role a little more humorously online.

Shamoil Shipchandler, regional director of the SEC's Fort Worth, Texas, office, told CNBC on Wednesday he is the one who has "tweeted hundreds of jokes" from the agency's Twitter account. On Wednesday, he tweeted that "calling someone average might be mean."

"When I became the Fort Worth director, one of the things I noticed is that we have a number of different ways to connect to the world at large. The most common way is through enforcement action announcements but we also want to be able to educate people about the tools to protect against fraud," Shipchandler told CNBC.

Appointed in August 2015, Shipchandler did not begin tweeting what many would call "dad jokes" right away. From the account's first tweet in September 2014 until April 2016, Fort Worth sent out fairly innocuous tips and announcements. And then, on April 19, 2016, the account tweeted "We're back on Twitter and better than ever. Tell all of your friends."

The next day the jokes began, with Shipchandler tweeting a link with the caption "this issue was quite literally a slippery slope" with the hashtag "lawyerhumor."

"One of the best ways to reach people is through social media but you can't bore them, or else people's eyes glaze over," Shipchandler said. "We wanted to blend humor and education."

He says the he "didn't go rogue" from the beginning, noting that the change was carefully planned after talking with the office's press team. Shipchandler says the office talked over his "theory of social media." Word of the change likely went as high as one of the SEC's five commissioners who are appointed by the president to lead the financial watchdog.

The Fort Worth account's jokes are nearly daily now, according to Shipchandler – a fact verified by CNBC's reading through all 1,840 tweets. While some tweets become more popular than others, Shipchandler picked out three of his favorites.

"No one asks a free-range chicken why it crosses the road."

"Why did Star Wars episodes 4-6 come out before 1-3? Our theory: In charge of planning, Yoda was."

"We don't understand why record stores failed. They had record sales every year."

As the tweets have become more popular — and more notorious — Shipchandler says he rarely does outreach or gives a speech without someone mentioning the account to him.

"One of the commissioners once called and said he was laughing about a tweet," Shipchandler said.

The account has about twice as many followers as any other SEC office, something Shipchandler credits to the jokes. He thinks other offices maintain their own personalities, saying the Boston office is a good example of one which "blends a number of things."

"I want to make people interested," Shipchandler added. "And I tend to just think about the funny stuff in advance, like over the weekend, and then go to press affairs to review before we send them out."

The top 10 most retweeted Fort Worth SEC tweets

  1. "We don't understand why record stores failed. They had record sales every year."
  2. "Warning: if you are ever kidnapped by mimes, they may perform unspeakable acts on you."
  3. "People keep asking us whether the Big 12 is better than the SEC. Sorry. We're only familiar with the Big Four."
  4. "The printer tells us that the paper is jamming but we don't hear any music."
  5. "Who cares why the chicken crossed the road? Just observe & appreciate it. It's poultry-in-motion."
  6. "We understand that inventing the shovel was a groundbreaking event. But the broom– well. That was an invention that swept the nation."
  7. "Pro tip: Never buy flowers from a monk. Only YOU can prevent florist friars."
  8. "We think that a hospital network should be called an IV league."
  9. "We took Nyquil and 5-Hour Energy at the same time and now we see noises."
  10. "It's so hot in Fort Worth today that two hobbits just came by and threw a ring into our office."