When was the last time you were truly fooled on April Fool's Day?

Allow me to rephrase. When was the last time you were truly "fooled" on April Fool's Day AND actually impressed with the effort and creativity behind it?

Smart brands and public figures have resorted to jokes that are so obviously unreal that anyone who dares to make a stink will only look as ridiculous as the prank itself for getting up in arms about it.

I can remember once when I was younger, a radio announcer hit the airwaves with this insane giveaway that was "at the corner of Johnston & Robley." It was great to hear all the callers phoning in to the radio station in a frenzy due to the fact that they couldn't find the site for the giveaway—which made sense because it didn't exist.

At no point does Johnston Street intersect with Robley.

As a radio station Brand Manager, I get anxiety just thinking about the emails, messages, and social comments that would come as a result of inconveniencing listeners—or worse, causing some type of accident with shenanigans intended to be fun. While I have you behind the curtain, I have no problem telling you that annually, I get no less than two to three internal emails reminding us that the wrong April Fool's joke could easily spell disaster for us based on multiple incidents where good intentions quickly turned into costly liabilities.

While there are multiple factors we could blame for the demise of April Fool's Day, the internet is the only real culprit here. Allow me to explain with the following 5 reasons the internet ruined April Fool's Day.

5. The internet gave us all a heightened sense of awareness.

Bermix Studio, Unsplash
Bermix Studio, Unsplash
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Remember when "be careful how much personal information you share on the internet" was a thing? What about when "be careful what you click on" was the number one warning for anyone browsing the web? Those things don't need to be mentioned anymore because they're simply inherent at this point. This standard default of skepticism makes it nearly impossible for people to take anything at face value.

4. The wrong message or prank can easily be taken out of context and travel farther than you intended.

Unsplash
Unsplash
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I can't tell you how many times I've seen people crack a joke or post a status update that ultimately spirals out of their control in the worst ways possible. The internet is ripe for pranks or well-intended words to be taken out of context or for old tweets to resurface through the lens of today's societal norms. Because of the internet's endless reach, a stranger on the other side of the world could take issue with something you post online, and almost instantly you can become viral for all the wrong reasons.

3. Google.

Firmbee, Unsplash
Firmbee, Unsplash
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Literally—just Google. While some people could definitely benefit from Googling before sharing things (like misinformation) on social media, it's a tool that can let you know whether something is legit or not in a matter of seconds. Circle back to #5 where I told you how automatically skeptical we are of everything we see and then apply a quick Google search and, Voila! The April Fool's Joke sank before it ever had a chance to leave the dock.

2. Misinformation and the Devil's Advocate.

Jorge Franginello, Unsplash
Jorge Franginello, Unsplash
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Besides the obvious, one of the worst things about misinformation is the way they've destroyed our ability to clearly tell what is a parody and what is propaganda. The lines are so blurred between facts and opinions due to social media that it's almost impossible to share jokes in that space without having them ruined by confusion, not to mention that one person who lives to play Devil's Advocate online.

1. No one can take a joke anymore—because we've taken jokes too far.

Toa Heftiba, Unsplash
Toa Heftiba, Unsplash
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I hate when I hear people saying that "no one can take a joke anymore," because I don't believe that phrase tells the whole story. The reason why "no one can take a joke anymore" is because so many people have taken jokes too far. Under the guise of "jokes," many people regularly share hurtful messages, misinformation, and bully strangers on platforms that make it super easy to remain faceless, never having to be held accountable for the result of their actions or the things they say.

In a world where social media is such a public-facing platform with an endless reach, embarrassment over something as simple as an April Fool's joke has almost taken on a whole new scale. Unlike the embarrassment that you may face amongst your group of friends or office mates that comes with a wink and laugh, online embarrassment often comes with getting even due to the level of public humiliation that comes with the world laughing at your shortcomings—even if we're talking lighthearted intentions.

And then there's the fact that life is so wild, that April Fool's jokes literally pale in comparison.

I'm not saying that April Fool's Day doesn't still deliver fun content. For instance, here are a few local "pranks" that were shared by a few popular brands and organizations.

But as I mentioned earlier, the content has to be SO unbelievable that it doesn't actually "fool" anyone. And isn't that what the original April Fool's Day was all about?

If you agree with me, feel free to share this on social media with the people who ruined the holiday for us 😅 and pour one out for the OG April Fool's Day.

Gone, but not forgotten.

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