Why Tech Companies Might Not Want to Swipe Right on April Fools Day
I was never allowed to pull a prank on April Fools' Day. I was disappointed as a child but didn't have a choice because that day is also my mother's birthday. Over all she is a pretty fun-loving, laid back person. She laughs at jokes and sitcoms and has a penchant for posting the best animal videos to Facebook that I have ever seen. So, I don't hold a grudge. Not to mention I'm gullible as hell, I recognize how your birthday can turn into a huge disappointment even when it isn't a day, literally, dedicated to deceiving people, and I'm starting to realize that maybe the only thing funny about April Fools' Day is that it exists.
Comedy is all about timing. You can tell a great joke but if you don't time it right, it's not funny. One of the reasons that prank videos are making money off of Youtube is because the element of surprise sells. That goes for engagement videos as well. This key factor has made it possible for someone to earn thousands of dollars from banner ads by asking their girlfriend of seven years to marry them. (That and the fact that there will always be a demographic of single, post-college girls under forty.) April Fools' Day is literally the only day of the year that you can play a joke or pull a prank on someone where the key element to its success is obsolete.
The latest trend in tech is being trendy. Seriously- tell me the last startup you heard of that doesn't have a ping pong table or a kegerator. You get me? Good. Now, don't get me wrong. I love ping pong and I love kegerators but it's obvious when a company is aligning their culture with what's trending instead of being the one setting the trends. Which is why I was disappointed, but not "surprised" to see some companies in tech that I really admire pull pranks that either backfired or seemed like a complete misallocation of resources.
As far as backfiring goes, I don't think I'm dropping the mic when I mention Google. Personally, I think if you're getting fired from your job for accidentally hitting the new button located right next to "send" (especially if the subject matter is so serious you could get fired over it) you probably haven't been getting enough sleep and your job was in jeopardy a long time before the first of April.
That said, I can't help but think of all the other ways in which Google's employees could have spent their time. Instead of the mic drop campaign, maybe they could have come up with a way to integrate gifs right into an email, like Twitter just did.
As far as a misallocation of resources, Opentable takes the cake. Their "Lickable Photos" campaign was above par. So above par in fact, that I had to google it to make sure that this wasn't actually some new form of technology that I missed the memo on (plus I'm naturally inclined to believe ridiculous things like I mentioned before).
The main reason I needed more information though, was because their landing page was so on point that I couldn't justify it being fake. But guess what?! It was fake. FYI they haven't yet created the technology that enables you to lick a photo of a picture of food on your phone and taste it. A huge disappointment to Bernie Sanders' supporters everywhere. Imagine if all of the time and energy that went into creating that strategy had gone towards actually inventing that technology? Just kidding but not really.
On a serious note, these major corporations attempting to strengthen the trendiness of their culture by creating fake technology makes me feel like they are missing the point. The reason we respect them in the first place is because of the real technology being created. Nobody is trying to get a job at Google because they have a kegerator.