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April 3, 2009

Friday Recap: We Be Foolin’ Edition

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This week we welcomed April, and with it came the pranks and nonsense we begrudgingly accept in exchange for springtime sunburns and pollen allergies. Just kidding! I tan like toast and my nose is oblivious, so I’m happy to let the sun shine in. And actually, I like watching pranks. Yes, watching them. I can’t pull ‘em off myself (I’d rather you amuse me. Don’t judge; it’s science.) and I don’t want to be the butt of some joke. But as long as you remember not to believe anything yourself, there’s some guaranteed good fool watching to be had.

CNN compiled up a number of jokes played by the media, from The Guardian’s announcement that it was going to go all-in on Twitter to the Taipei Times alerting readers that two zoo pandas were merely a black-and-white-dyed ruse. The media analyst in that piece says that a news outlet’s credibility isn’t hurt if the story is clearly a joke. Still, it never fails that some unsuspecting reader forgets to look at the calendar that morning and prepare themselves for the onslaught of untruths. Ann Coulter won the prize for most visible personality to take the bait.

One of the more convincing hoaxes came from Smashing Magazine’s in-depth preview of Internet Explorer 8.1. The fastest JavaScript engine and a server-side code decompiler topped off with Firefox extension support? There are about a million techie types that wet their pants when they read that.

Google’s joke du jure was an artificial intelligence system called CADIE, or Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity. The system was said to be the result of gains made in the fields of “neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving”. Does anyone else find it funny that Google decided to represent their world-changing technology with a fuzzy little panda?

I have to give the office favorite to Microsoft for putting Paula into mad fits of laughter. Literally brought to tears by the thought of a yodeling video game, she became a weeping hyena when faced with the mental image of a goat add-on pack. It was all sorts of adorable. [It also flew over my head, but that happens a lot. --Katie]

At the Get Page One blog, the astute observation was made that April Fool’s Day has become a social media marketing juggernaut. And if you think about it, where did you find the silly spectacles of your day? For me it was all tweets and instant messages. Viral marketing has found its favorite holiday.

I’ve reached the end of my practical jokes, so the rest of what I say in this post is 100 percent serious.

bacon bandage
Photo by uriba via Creative Commons

Serious thing #1: The amazing, the incredible, the irresistible bacon is good for more than just eating, drinking and bathing. Bacon saves lives.

Serious thing #2: Academia has finally caught on to the societal necessity of Facebook and Twitter and one university may begin offering a Master’s degree in social media. Remember kids, when mom comes in and sees you putzing around on your social network, just tell her you’re preparing for your future.

Serious thing #3: It’s long been believed that sex sells — if not supported by fact, then by our human intuition. That and the drooling males driven to Carl’s Jr. after watching Paris Hilton wash a car. Anyway, now there’s proof! You better believe I plan to use “sex” in the title of every other post. (Kidding, Bruce! Unless, of course, it works.)

Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:

(Consider these also under the very serious category.)





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