April Fools: Nonsense Or Good Fun?

Filed as Editorial on April 1, 2009 3:10 pm

April 1st. You know what that means: You can’t trust the news. Not online, and not in print. Everyone and his mother tries to trick you into believing some preposterous story. All in good fun.

It’s also utter nonsense.

I’ve pulled a few April Fools pranks myself, on both a personal level, and as a publisher. Some was so good that they reached trade magazines, reported as real news. That was a lot of fun, especially since anyone buying it would, in one particular case, visit a website which clearly showed what kind of a joke it was.

Meanwhile, I dread the news on April 1st, and the days that follows. What if I’m reporting something that really is an April Fools gag? And what if one of my sources, in the days to come, has fallen for a local prank, and it turns international without any real way of following up on it?

I’ve gone from a person who liked April Fools and the fact that I could mess with my readers’ heads without alienating (too many of) them, to someone who thinks that serious publications should stick to what they know and leave comedy to comics.

What’s your take on April Fools? Do share.

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  1. By Rarst posted on April 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm
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    It’s all nice if people bothered to stick to the rules. Instead of that nowadays it’s “If I will post this crap on April 1st no one would beleive it! I will post this day early! Smart me.”.

    I had seen some start as early as March 30. It’s about having fun, not about screwing with people heads and feeling good about how wicked you are.

    Instead of single day of fun it is few days stream of crap (because honestly not much jokes are all that good).


  2. By Jade Craven posted on April 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm
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    Its now become a business – in many cases, pure linkbait. That irritates me, but I expect a couple of days of silliness. I really enjoy the ones that are blatantly a joke. ShoeMoneys one was really good, especially when reading his twitter stream.


  3. By Andy Merrett posted on April 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm
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    The dilemma of time zones and what Rarst talks about means that there can be up to a week of uncertainty surrounding various “news”. It’s a pain at one level, but I guess it lets some people let off steam. I’ve pulled a couple of AFJs in the past but couldn’t be bothered to set anything up this year (honest!)


  4. By Rogerio posted on April 1, 2009 at 8:26 pm
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    It’s funny, and a great opportunity for linkbaits, the best one I found was a portuguese email company offering smelling email, where you can choose from 12 different smells to send…

    http://web.mail.sapo.pt/index.php/EmailsCheiro (portuguese)



  5. By Bruce Christensen posted on April 2, 2009 at 5:49 am
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    We are sponsoring a SAVE an ELEPHANT joke on Facebook.
    The elephant joke was a rage in the 60’s and 70’s.
    For April Fools Day we felt this was a worthwhile cause:
    The SAVE an ELEPHANT joke cause doesn’t hurt anyone and makes us laugh a bit. Isn’t that the idea behind this day?
    Share an elephant joke today: http://bit.ly/8H2sj


  6. By itochan posted on April 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm
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    I ve read this story as a Japanese Translated article at http://jp.blogherald.com/2009/04/02/april-fools-nonsense-or-good-fun/ , and its posted date is April 2nd.
    I wonder that the multi-language news sites including blogherald.com will consider such translation time-rag (publishing time-rag).


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