April Fools’ Day is done. It’s through. It’s stopped being funny. It’s dead and the real-time Web is holding the knife.
A few days ago we were throwing ideas around, trying to come up with a wacky product to announce or silly conspiracy theory to report as our annual April Fools’ Day joke. Then it hit us… Who actually cares if we do one or not?
April Fools’ Day used be something that was a bit of fun. You’d play a trick on a friend, look for the spoof story in your newspaper and then get on with your life. As the internet took hold of our lives, the pace ratcheted up a little with websites getting in on the act, but it was still manageable – a fun distraction on an otherwise normal day.
Now? Well, now we’ve got…
- Brands and tech companies prebriefing us days in advance about their ‘hilarious’ April Fools’ Day jokes. These range from a few paragraphs of a press release to expensively produced videos – all in the hope they’ll be included in someone’s roundup post.
- Twitter and Facebook filled with people sharing and resharing ‘jokes’ from a seemingly limitless barrel of sources. All day.
- The day itself has become so noisy with falsehoods that people have started doing their April Fools’ Day jokes up to a week early in order to get ahead of the pack. No, Spotify won’t be announcing it’s been acquired today, and Google’s Matt Cutts isn’t joining another company. And no, mentioning ‘April 1st’ in your report doesn’t let you off the hook – it’s a day, not a week-long festival.
Oh, and it’s not just a day, is it? The real-time, always-on nature of our lives now means that we get ‘jokes’ from the second New Zealand wakes up to the moment Alaska goes to sleep on April 1. Due to timezone differences, April Fools’ Day is nearly two days long online.
So, it’s time to step back from the frenzy. Yes, we’ll probably share some of the best April Fools’ Day jokes out there from others today, but out of respect for your sanity, we’re abstaining from launching a wacky ‘TNW Teleportation’ service or whatever. The world just doesn’t need it.
Wishing you a happy and quiet April Fools’ Day.
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