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No Fooling

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.

4 Responses to “No Fooling”

  1. Skylar Smythe Says:

    I agree. But you know… damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    It’s hard to be lighthearted when you get slammed. It’s hard to be creative when there is outcry if it’s not PRECISELY what every single person on the grid wanted.

    It makes me sad. The Lab is making money, we know that. But they’d be making more if they were willing to be a little more personal like they used to…

    But they used to right? And they learned something negative in that perhaps…

    Sad.

    Skylar

  2. Uccie Poultry Says:

    Today I fessed up on my blog that yesterday’s post was an April Fool’s Day prank. I have not been hired to be Correspondent Mole as part of the LDPW. If anyone wasn’t fooled, they didn’t tell me, but my IMs capped with notes of congratulations. *giggle* Sorry, y’all. I’m still an unemployed Mainland explorer.

  3. Marianne McCann Says:

    As am I, Uccie! Too bad. :-)

  4. Marianne McCann Says:

    I think, Skylar, that the trouble comes in assuming that every single person on the grid will be happy with… anything. I don’t think that was possible when SL was in its infancy, and it certainly is not today. Unfortunately, I think that “not doing anything” is as much of a thing as “doing something,” and they end up looking bad by continuing to retreat.

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