April Fool and Liar – Liar – Pants on Fire

social media transparency I have a confession – I’ve never gotten the appeal of “April Fool’s” jokes.

Prankster:  “Ha! Ha!  You believed me!   I lied and you believed me.  YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT!”

One upon whom the joke was perpetrated: “Yep!  You got me.  You’re right.  I WAS an idiot to believe what you said.  Fool me once – shame on you.  Fool me twice – shame on me.   Don’t worry – I won’t trust you again.”

While I don’t get the whole “I’ve lied to you.  I’ve abused your trust-  now laugh and forget about it,” behind the traditional April Fool’s pranks,  I especially don’t get WHY anyone would try to pull an “April Fool’s” joke on their blog.   If there’s one message everyone with a blog, Facebook or Twitter account needs to hear it’s this:


In past generations, newspaper editors could “play” April Fool’s pranks because of the ephemeral nature of the media. However, the rules have changed since the days when the daily newspaper was the standard for mass communication – much to the chagrin of traditional media moguls.

The Internet has take Transparency from Transient to Permanent in less than a decade!

I understand why people are having trouble making the transition from a world where transparency was an option to be exercised into a world where transparency is no longer transitory and now permanent.

For thousands of years, mankind has sought to create an element of permanency in written communication.  Instead of scrawling images in the dirt or sand, cave men put pictures on the walls of the cave because they lasted longer.  Years later, men carved words in stone in order to preserve them for eternity.  It was labor intensive – but when the message was important – it was worth the effort.

The point is – that in order to create a lasting message – one that could withstand the elements and the ravages of time, man had to take extra ordinary precautions to preserve early forms of communication.

The very nature of the Internet has removed the elements of  “time, effort, care and caution” from the preservation of the electronic communications.

People are learning the lessons of the “new world” the HARD way every day.  The tales are rampant of how Facebook can get you fired.  Heck, there’s even a term for getting fired because of your blog – it’s called getting “Dooced.”  Daniel Terdiman wisely asked himself the question, Is there such as thing as being fired for Twittering? He writes:

Well, today I was thinking about Twittering something and I began to wonder if maybe doing so might get me in trouble at work. And that got me to thinking about whether there’d been any cases yet of someone getting Dooced for Twittering. Call it being “Twooced.”

The answer of course is a resounding “Yes!”  – Twitter can get you fired – as evidenced by the now infamous Cisco Fatty.  What I find AMAZING is that Connor Riley is working on a masters degree in information technology yet she writes on her blog,

Unfortunately, a Cisco employee (actually, I’m not sure if he’s an employee or enthusiast or what) happened to be browsing public mentions of the company on Twitter and immediately called me out on what seemed like a hugely callous and rude thing to say

Um – sweetie – that was not an unfortunate oopsie – that is what is called REPUTATION MANAGEMENT!  While Cisco may be cutting edge in employing this – it will soon become the NORM and not the EXCEPTION.

The reason reputation management is becoming big business is simple….

The Internet is NOT ephemeral.  Your blog is NOT ephemeral.  Even Twitter is not ephemeral.

Barbara Ling has left comments on this blog sharing her own “Golden Rule” of business communication:

“I live by the creed, my kids will find EVERYTHING I write online…”

Whether it’s your kids, your potential employer or your potential customers – communicating like everything you write online will live forever is an EXCELLENT mind set to adopt.

Which brings me back to my original bashing of April Fool’s posts on this day.  What happens when your April Fool’s post enters the Web Archive?  Will it be immediately evident that it is truly an April Fool’s prank post?

With that thought in mind, the biggest April Fools story is the Conflicker Internet Worm story . This “prank” is one I can actually endorse because in the end, it got the media talking about internet security.  If those stories get people to install antivirus software and keep it updated – well, now THAT is a prank with the greater good in mind!


  1. I thought about exactly that before posting an April Fool’s joke.

    On the day of, it’s probably clear. But when it’s archived, who really pays that much attention to the date?

    Also what about people in other cultures who don’t understand it in the first place?

    However I think it works if you go SUPER over the top where it’s clear it’s a joke, for example Google’s hilarious “email autopilot”: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/autopilot/index.html

    Jason Cohens last blog post..How much of success is luck?

  2. Ki Kathy – This is a really good point. I’ve never been able to play April Fools jokes offline either – because I always forget what date it is.

    But doing it online is crazy – as you say, folk reading your “joke” months later may not even realise it’s not true.

    And I wish folk using work time to use Twitter, blog etc, would get over the idea that it’s ok. The sad thing is – they’re usually the ones trying to start their own businesses. And usually they fail cos they waste so much time messing about.

  3. Ya mean I got taken on the worm thing? 😀

    And guess who had a reputation management comment from Best Buy on her blog apologizing for the crappy experience we had trying to buy my netbook? Yep. They pulled a Truly Nolen on me. I did so want to be you for so long….this was a thrill! 😀

    Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE . . .

  4. Jason,

    You’re so right – it has to be entirely outrageous to work – and even then – with so many “village idiots” roaming the global village – you’ve got to KNOW there’s more than a few who might take it seriously – no matter WHAT the day!


    Forgetting the permanence of the web seems to be a never ending battle.


    “Taken” is such a strong term. Think more like Y2K – it was blown WAY out of proportion – but at least some good could come of it!

    One thing about Best Buy – their reputation is ALREADY toast online!! They were a clear “winner” in one of the worst companies duel over at the Consumerist blog! Glad you got a little “social justice”!

  5. I disagree in part – I’m old – seeing 50 on the horizon – and I have spent years being a good little employee. Now I work only for myself so I feel that I have the total right to say what I want on my own blog. Its got me into what you’d probably call a lot of trouble with one particular company who I called out. Well they thought they could bully me on my own blog- long story short it didn’t work, and they lost big time and permanently as I now am top of the search engines for just what they didn’t want me to be: scam.

    I also swear, allow typos through, admit to being an atheist and generally behave unprofessionally. Oddly I am getting an ever increasing number of emails from people who like my honesty and want to be my clients.

    I think you can look “too professional” online which can come across too phoney – a bit like the over-dressed car salesman I suppose. I just know I am never going to be accused of being “too professional” LMAO!

    Lissies last blog post..A Perfect Passive Income Opportunity?

  6. Kathy says:

    I don’t know if there is such a thing as “too professional”. Too stuffy – too self important – too self involved – too prima donna are ALL possibilities. However, professional doesn’t always mean “phony”. I personally try to be ‘professional” yet “fun”.

    As for your “tussle” with a company – one thing every business owner needs to learn and it’s “you don’t stir shit because it tends to stink when you stir it.” Good for you for “winning” in the end.


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