Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

Formulating an April Fool's Plan

Hiding behind a door to scream ‘BOO!’  Declaring, ‘I’m Pregnant.”  Carefully taping a Kick Me sign.

April Fools!

 Sound familiar?

Today is Monday April 1st.  April Fool’s Day.  Today was my original due date.  Mom would have none of that and held off for four more days.
This day is recognized in countries around the world and is also called All Fools’ Day.  If you aren’t familiar, basically on this day people are more likely to play practical jokes on each other.  These can be from simple posts on Facebook to complex hoaxes in person.
An article on How Stuff Works, offered more information on this day.

 In France up until 1564, the accepted calendar was the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year around April. According to “The Oxford Companion to the Year,”King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1.   In France today they a common April Fool joke is putting a cut out fish on a persons back, called ‘April Fish.’

Here is a little bit more history about this day:

Today ABC released The Best April Fools’s Day Hoaxes, I personally liked Burger King’s 1998 ‘Left-Handed Whopper.’
Last year, an April Fools’ stunt backfired when Forbes.com published an article on claiming Mitt Romney pulled out of there race and was endorsing Rick Santorum.  The post was only online for a 30 minutes, when publishers realized their satire column was being taken seriously as Google headlined it on their homepage.  They quickly pulled it down.
I guess that is the risk with April Fool’s Day.  It could go either way.  Either written in a blog post, article or social media OR done in person, what you may think to be HILL-arious may be taken literally or may even hurt the other person.
I grew up in a family of fun, heck I was ‘pranked’ twice already today.  I am extremely gullible, so I am probably a target.  But I have seen others take a prank a little too far.  I can’t help but think about my posts/research on Mean Girls and Cyberbullying, where jokes and pranks are rooted in hurting.  So, I know it is late in the day on this All Fools’ Day, but I thought I would share some things to think about when formulating your April Fools Plan.
5 Tips to determine if an April Fools Prank is a good idea.

  1. Do no (physical) Harm.  This should be a no brainer.  Don’t hurt yourself or others in your attempt to carry out your plans.
  2. How much do you know the person?  On a scale of 1-10, a no-fools zone is anyone below a seven.  You should have a solid relationship with them, trust already established.  Pulling a joke on a new friend or causal classmate will make you come across like a bully.  It could even get you in trouble.  However, messing with your brother or best friend would almost be expected.
  3. Time & Place.  Be respectful and aware where your joke will take place.  Will there be a number of other people around?  Would someone watching become concerned?  Will you get in trouble if it is in a location with certain rules?  My advice: stay away from work april fools pranks.  Think about it, you could get fired.
  4. Silliness factor.  Ask yourself, will you both laugh about it later, or just you?  I would highly encourage you to stay as close to the silly side for your prank.
  5. Reveal.  Whatever the prank, keep the length of time, from the onset of the joke to letting the person know you are kidding, to be short.  Like within minutes, not days!

Today the White House got into the April Fools spirit, announcing they had a special message from the President who turned out to be someone much different.

Even funnier was Jay Leno’s special.  I endorse any of these fun and light hearted pranks, even though the dirty diaper one was pushing it a bit.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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