April 1st, 2012 by Marianne McCann
I enjoyed looking at all the Google gags, the EFF newsletter, the fake products on Think Geek, and all the jests on the web today. It reminded me of when Linden Lab used to do April Fool’s jokes.
I don’t know much about them before I came into SL, though I do know that Ben Linden hid several pictures around the grid, showing some of the changes coming to the viewer back in 2005. Oh, and while he mentioned that the screenshots would be removed… some of them remain hidden hither and yon to this very day. Kinda fun to come across them now and then, actually.
The first I actually was involved in was a little more than a month after I joined Second Life. It was post about Second Life Tax soon being due. Seemed an obvious joke to me, but I know some took it pretty seriously: I did not know the history of the prim tax and such as that point in my second life.
I did get the t-shirts that were given out that day: I only seem to still have the “greedy” shirt that you’d get if you clicked the giver more than once.
Then came 2007. The prank that year? The “Connecting to Region” text you see when teleporting was replaced with a number of silly sayings. It was a great joke — or would have been, if the day was not also plagued with teleport failures. There was a lot of outcry, and they went away. No more April Fool’s gags have been attempted by Linden Lab.
It could still be a remnant from the M Linden “serious business” era of Second Life, and maybe Rodvik would be keen on this. Yet at the same time, we have a lab that has seemingly retreated from inworld visibility, and the shuttering of other traditions such as the Linden vs. Resident snowball fight.
I think it’s unfortunate. So many tech companies embrace this faux holiday, from Kodak’s printable kittens to Blizzard Kidzz, yet the Lab — likely cowed by fears of torch and pitchfork wielding Residents — avoids it. Being involved with these, IMO, helps humanize the company and its people.