Bloggers’ April Fools Jokes

Maybe I’m just a killjoy, but I don’t think that bloggers’ April Fools jokes are funny. I feel like we as bloggers have to work really hard to develop credibility, and the whole point of an April Fools joke is to abuse that credibility to get readers to buy into the implausibility of the gag. As a result of April Fools, the blogosphere is awash today with lots of not-credible information, and we as readers are struggling to sort truth from fiction. It makes for a tough blogging day.

I think the problem is especially acute with legal-related April Fools joke. The problem is that at this point, there are so many true stories of ridiculous legal claims and other tomfoolery that it’s impossible now to disbelieve anything. In this respect, I’m reminded of the Coca-Cola advertising campaign where Coke executives were thinking about suing Coke Zero for “taste infringement.” This is supposed to be funny–putatively, there isn’t such a thing as “taste infringement,” is there?–but in fact such a claim is hardly inconceivable and, if brought, would not be all that funny for the defendant or consumers generally. [April 2024 update: “taste infringement” lawsuits have indeed been brought since I first wrote this.] More generally, it’s almost impossible to create a ridiculous enough fictional legal claim as the basis of an April Fools gag when reality far outstrips our wildest imagination.

So my recommendation to bloggers: if you want to keep me as a reader, don’t abuse my trust with an April Fools gag. Rather, if you want to do something humorous, entertain me and your readers with the numerous real-life stories that are even more outrageous.