How YouTube has made April Fools' Day foolish

It seems that, all year round, companies and individuals are trying to play jokes on the outside world, to get YouTube views and retweets. Doesn't this make April Fools' Day pointless?

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Google Glass for your feet. Didn't you know? Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'm supposed to spend the whole of today giggling.

It's as if I'm lying in bed and a million hands are tickling me at once. It's as if I've turned up at the comedy club on open-mic night and all the performers are far too sure they're funny. It's as if the funhouse at the fair has no doors.

When all we had were newspapers and woolly old men reading the latest on TV, an April Fools' joke was a singular affair. If it worked, we slightly marveled.

Then the Web came along and people began to realize that they could bother their fellow humans at every hour sent by deities.

They could create YouTube videos that made you believe that telekinesis worked in coffee shops. They could slip onto Twitter and reveal that George Clooney was dead, Cher was a man, or Bill Clinton held hands with Glenn Beck.

The first few times we yelled: "No!" as we rushed to tell all our friends. Then we got a little wiser. Now our minds are often set to: "Is this a joke?"

Google isn't convinced. Every April 1, it produces more ruses than a carpet salesman. It delights in using this day as somehow proof that it owns the humorous zeitgeist.

From live Pokemons to Gmail shelfies, Google bathes in overkill.

Of course, Google isn't alone. From Nokia with its 41-megapixel makeover to Sony's power food we're supposed to gorge on the comedy fest, as we plan to ensure that our co-workers' desks are covered in superglue and our lovers' shampoo is -- surprise!! -- bleach.

Smaller companies, too, want to get in on the comedy act. Surely you've seen the Shoestagram from, um, Fueled in New York. It's Google Glass for your feet. You might have to wash it a lot.

Is it better to have your own birthday party or to share it with thousands of other people? Is it better to have one enormous belly laugh, rather than be forced into a million little giggles of dubious sincerity?

Perhaps Google, for example, could have its own Google Fools' Day, where we would know that today Google, and only Google, will make us laugh.

I suggest the day of the next Apple product launch might be a good one for that.

 

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