The April Fools Blog Gag That Backfired
Heard about this today. Did you know that Darren Rowse is bankrupt since the most he ever earned on ProBlogger was $1,000/month?
It’s not true, of course. It’s a pretty tacky April Fools gag, clumsily made since the post date isn’t even April 1st. Darren wasn’t happy, and I can imagine he got even more pissed when his Wikipedia entry got updated accordingly. That shows how unreliable Wikipedia can be, if anything. Come on, is There’s a Blog in my Soup reliable enough for such an edit? And who does that kind of edit to a person’s entry without looking up on facts?
Patrick Curl, author of the post, have updated with an apology. The post is still up.
April Fools is a silly thing. Tacky jokes are part of it, so I don’t blame Patrick. The fact that the post date is wrong is the worst part if you ask me, because you won’t automatically take it as an April Fools gag since it says March 31st. I’m no fan of going after people either, better to joke about more abstract things. That way you won’t risk hurting people’s reputation or brand, since not all people will understand that it is a joke, nor will they check back to read about how they’re the laughing stock of April Fools Day.
I’d say this joke backfired. I’d also say that people should cut Patrick some slack. April Fools is a silly thing, that’s all that there’s to it. I bet Patrick learned his lesson, and I bet a lot of people who perhaps would’ve done the same thing under different circumstances did too.
I also learned something, or rather, was reminded of something. That Wikipedia is edited by people, and some of them don’t check the source.
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.
It may not be wildly funny, but why is it tacky?
Monthly income is a consistent subtext on problogger and others – sometimes a lot more than that.
I find it tacky to single out a person in an April Fools gag. Sure, Darren is an authority, but it’s still a pretty small niche he’s working in, where personal brand and recognition is important. I don’t think the idea was to hurt Darren, but the choice of joke was indeed a poor one, and the missing date makes it worse.
It’s amazing how many people take Wikipedia for the absolute truth…unfortunate really. :(
Doing this about yourself is one thing. It’s expected. And people know that.
But you don’t make this sort of joke about someone else. Yes, it’s unexpected. And if people had figured out it was a joke then it might have been funny.
But come on, if you’re going to do this sort of thing label it as a joke right in the post. Don’t leave any opprotunity for people to think it’s real.