The Price of April Fool’s Jokes

Rogue Amoeba just posted assuring people their April First new announcement about becoming a Windows-only company was bullshit. At least some people seem to have not thought it was a joke, now leading to actual confusion in the marketplace about what it is that they do. Seems like a fairly steep price to pay for a not-very-funny joke. When companies and news organizations get in this situation of having people believe the semi-outlandish things they said sincerely on or around April 1st, they always turn it back around on others. “What, you believed that? Why didn’t you check the calendar?” I believe that people whose business it is to inform you shouldn’t pick a day of the year that they have license to lie to you and pretend it is your fault. This is especially true when the announcement is not so over-the-top as to be immediately dismissed (although even that doesn’t let them off the hook.)

Back when I was a student there, the Georgia Tech school newspaper ran a news item about how a local round building was going to have its annual maintenance which would involve rotating this 15 story building. A few dozen people showed up to watch it, and a school photographer showed up and snapped them. Next issue, it gleefully ran the photos of these people silly enough to believe something it printed. The end result of that sort of behavior is that the next time they run something true but hard to believe, my gut instinct is to not believe it. When I read it, I think “Wait, is this one of those days where I’m stupid for believing what they tell me?” Do you really want your readers to have to apply that kind of filter to what you tell them?

I can tell you of all the April’s Fools posts I saw on Saturday, none of them were anywhere near funny enough to make any sort of confusion in the marketplace worthwhile. I, Dr. Buzzkill, will continue my hatred of April Fool’s Day. To quote someone who was actually funny, “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

One thought on “The Price of April Fool’s Jokes”

  1. I think if you’re a corporate entity and you want to play with that “tar baby” called “April Fools” it’s probably a better idea to spoof about something non-company/product/brand related and more absurd/less plausible. Don’t think it benefits any business making customers look or feel stupid.

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