I’ve been working with editorial services for years, usually with news reporting as something I do daily. I know the dread that April 1 send through the spine of any news writer. It’s a day where anything can happen, and since the world sometimes is a scary place, you can’t always know what is real and what is fake.
April Fools. The words bring horror.
I like this day, sometimes there are thoroughly enjoyable pranks and jokes. I like April 1 as a reader. As a writer, I need to force myself to rethink everything at least twice. And you know what? I like that too, I think it is a good thing that you’ll have t reconsider everything, and ask yourself if the information you’ve gotten is reliable, even plausible. There’s so much content out there, we really need to start asking ourselves if what we take in is the truth, or just PR bullshit.
Of course, it can be somewhere in-between as well. Not everything we read online, or in the papers for that matter, is well researched. The conclusions drawn can be flawed, and since you rarely get all the facts that means that you might not be able to discover the flaws so easily, unless you start to think about what you’ve just taken as truth, start questioning it.
On April 1, you need to do that, or you’ll be the laughing stock with your friends.
As a publisher, April 1 is the day where your credibility can go down the drain.
Think about it. What happens if a reliable site falls for a stupid April Fools joke? I’d say that tells me three things.
- The writers are gullible.
- The writers aren’t researching enough.
- The writers aren’t questioning their sources.
Three pretty bad things, if it is a source of information for me, a site I enjoy and read. Let’s say TechCrunch falls for an April Fools joke, for instance. I’d smile at that, fun stuff, but then I’d say “hey, what other misinformation are they taking in and publishes as the truth?”, and that would hurt their credibility with me.
April 1 is fun. I still think that, even though I need to watch my step as a writer, as well as a reader. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.