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April Fools and the April Fooled

I like Google’s April Fools joke a lot, a singularity spoof. Be sure to visit the page Cadie built for herself based on her vastly intelligent analysis of the Web. (The little story the posts tell reminds me a little of something — The Turing Tests — I posted a few months ago, but which I had hesitated to post because I didn’t like it much.)

But then there’s SlideShare. I like what SlideShare does, and I like that they did an April Fools joke. But, frankly, I think they didn’t think it through. This morning I got an email from them:

Hi davidjoho,

We’ve noticed that your slideshow on SlideShare has been getting a LOT of views in the last 24 hours. Great job … you must be doing something right. ;-)

Why don’t you tweet or blog this? Use the hashtag #bestofslideshare so we can track the conversation.

-SlideShare Team

It fooled me plenty. I even sent the support team the suggestion that they include a link to the slideshow that’s doing well since some of us have more than one posted there. I got a quick and friendly reply from a support person explaining that this was an April 1 joke. For the day, everyone’s “number of views” number has been boosted wildly.

Hmmm. For the joke to work, we have to be able to figure out it’s a joke. But for that, I’d have to have known how many views my slideshows had had, and even if I’d noticed the anomaly, I’d have to make the leap to it being a joke, rather than a meme taking off. Worse, if I didn’t realize that I was being fooled, the email entices me to twitter-brag to the world about a non-accomplishment, including a hashtag so I can be added to the list of the fooled. I don’t mind being the butt of an April Fools joke, but it shouldn’t take a letter to Support to figure it out, and it shouldn’t spur me to announce my vain foolishness to the world.

Now, the truth is that I like SlideShow a little better than I did on March 31 because it did an April Fools Day joke, even though I think the joke was kinda lame. I even kinda like the lameness. Next year I hope they come up with something better.

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