Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 at 1:31 pm
Today is the first of April. To many that means April fool’s day pranks.
I have to admit that I don’t actually mind a good prank (the PTUA one made me chuckle), but they don’t work on the internet.
First is the timezone issue. To me it is early afternoon on April 1 and I have seen some good pranks from local sites. But by the time it is April 1 in the US, it is April 2 before I see their pranks, they are then just stupid as I am back to expecting legitimate content. This is compounded by the tradition of pranks in Australia only lasting until noon, while in the US they last all day.
Second is how the prank is followed up. If it stays available (eg as an archived post/article) then it must be modified to make of clear that it was an April fools prank. It is not reasonable to expect that someone finding it in the future will notice that the date (often in fine print) was April 1. A follow up post/article handles the regular readers, but does nothing to help those who go straight to the prank post/article.
It’s about respecting your audience, they may not be from the same area (also extends to other cultural things) or they may not be viewing the content until some unknown point on the future.