April Fools’ is just darn frustrating. As a studier of the Internet, you have to be constantly on guard. With every word you read and link you click on you must think, “could this really ridiculous story be real? Or is it a product of someone’s imagination?” So, as the most annoying holiday of the year — especially for the gullible — draws to a close, we present you a compilation of some of the notable April Fools’ gags we saw on the Web today. Some are funny, some are confusing and some are clunkers. We invite you to guffaw or scoff for yourself. Enjoy.
For the tech crowd
PC World has compiled 20 pranks from places like Google and YouTube. Take for instance Gmail Tap in which typing — using 26 keys — is replaced by tapping — using two. It’s Morse code for the modern day. Watch the promo video below:
The dangers of joke news
Gothamist points out the BBC’s not so subtle April Fools’ action. The site featured a story with the following headline: “The Earth Has exploded, killing everyone.” The subhed: “The Earth has exploded. It happened suddenly. There were no survivors.” And the text: “Everyone is dead./ We’re all dead./ I am writing this from the afterlife.”
Meanwhile, as Gawker points out, you can get into troubling territory with these types of gags. Google News’ top story was at one point “Romney Drops Out of Race, Endorses Santorum.” Yeah, that’s not real. But wait, Gawker writes: “Nowhere did it say this was a prank: although it should be obvious to most, we live in a country where actual people believe Onion headlines.” Here’s the full story via Romenesko.
And in Wisconsin we see the true danger of joke news stories that aren’t from the Onion. Romenesko notes a 2,000-circulation weekly paper published an April Fools’ story about Disney buying a state trail. That story — posted Wednesday, sent to print subscribers Thursday — “created such an uproar — state Capitol protests were being planned, says the story’s author — that the Wisconsin [Department of Natural Resources] had to issue a press release knocking down the report.” [via]
In Connecticut the state’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning tweeted: “Rep. Dargan in hospital following accident.” “Rep. Dargan” refers to State Representative Steve Dargan from West Haven. However, according to the New Haven Register, it seems to all be the case of an inside joke taken too far.
Maybe April Fools’ Day is best used for silly cuteness
Too good to be true
When we first saw this post from the food blog of our sister paper LA Weekly, we must say they had us fooled. We started reading. We were tickled by lines like: “My close friend and confidant Victoria Beckham and I were just discussing over brunch how stressful it is being busy moms in heels.” And: “I get mine when I raid Mario Batali’s home pantry.” Then we realized some of these gems were just too real to be real.
Go to Runnin’ Scared for all our latest news coverage.