I like to think I have a sense of humor, but I am not a prankster. And it shows on April Fool’s Day when it seems everyone uses social media posts to try and punk their loyal customers. I am not a fan. Sure, it is in good fun, but there are varying degrees of efficacy. My 13-year-old’s prank of switching bags of cereal to different boxes is funny and harmless. My 9-year-old creating toothpaste Oreos is not so funny and gross.
So, when it comes to posting April Fool’s Day pranks via corporate social media or creating fake press releases, my two cents is to stay away. The risk is not worth the reward. And definitely don’t announce real news on April 1 as it could be easily dismissed.
Attention spans today are so short that even a well-intentioned joke can be taken the wrong way – especially if read scrolling through a social media feed. And for news organizations, even the niche ones that post fake news stories in the spirit of April Fool’s Day – the results are doubly impactful as readers, listeners, viewers are tuning in for helpful information.
Leave the jokes to the comedians, where, as we’ve recently seen, it can still be a risky move.