Monday, April 01, 2013

Acceptable April Fools Day Behavior

It's April Fools Day, which means, don't trust anything you read. (Actually, that's not bad advice in general, not just today.) Really, it's kind of annoying that way. But I think it's possible to have some fun on April Fools Day, if you do it right.

Who does April Fools Day right? Google. Every year they debut several new humorous "features" or something that are obviously fake. I think 8-bit Google Maps for the NES is my favorite out of everything they've done, and a lot of their April Fools Day stuff is hit or miss, but really, this is all just harmless good fun. Google isn't trying to "fool" you; they're just having some fun.

Who doesn't do April Fools Day right? Most everyone else on the internet. Almost all April Fools Day jokes that people do online aren't funny at all. "I'm sorry to announce that we've decided to shut down our blog/website/whatever. Thanks to everyone for their support. Ha ha ha, April Fools! We're not shutting down." Yeah, well, you're an idiot.

As far as playing pranks on other people go, I have a simple rule: it has to be a) harmless and, b) not cause a serious inconvenience. For instance...late last night, I edited Amber's Facebook profile and changed her birthday from July 18th (her real birthday) to April 1st (not her real birthday) so that she would get a bunch of unexpected faux "Happy birthday!" greetings today. A few faux greetings later, she changed her profile back to her real birthday, and everyone (seemingly) had a good laugh. No harm done. (Well...perhaps my exploitation of the friendliness of Amber's Facebook friends was a little cruel of me.)

Meanwhile, one of my other Facebook friends says that someone signed her up for a bunch of companies' email lists as a joke. One or two of those would be fine, I guess, but if there are so many that it takes you more than a couple of minutes to unsubscribe to all of them, then that's not cool. That's where I would draw the line. You wouldn't need to do more one or two to get the desired comedic effect; beyond that, you're just being mean.

Of course, this being April Fools Day, who knows if that actually happened? That's probably the most annoying thing about today: social media is pretty much useless, because everyone is trying oh-so-hard to be funny, and most fail. But not me! I try and fail to be funny every day.

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