April Fools’ Day 2009 on the iFroggy Network

April Fools’ Day is always a fun time for me and that is reflected on the iFroggy Network, where I collaborate with my staff and others to brainstorm ways to have fun with our visitors on April 1. Here’s what we did this year:

On KarateForums.com, all logged in members were granted admin panel access, via a link in the header. The link took them to this page, encouraging them to prank others by talking about their new found admin access.

On phpBBHacks.com, we announced that phpBB 2 support was coming to an end on the site. But, this is not the case.

At PhotoshopForums.com, we announced plans to support only Photoshop CS4. Basically, if you asked a question on the community, it would have to relate to Photoshop CS4 and no prior versions. If you created a graphic or example and posted it on the forums, it would have to have been created with CS4. That’s not something we are going to do.

Finally, on Bad Boy Blog, we did a couple of jokes. When I was coming up with ideas, I had been thinking of fun story ideas that I could write about. One of them was “Exclusive: Sources: Jordan McCoy Joins Boyz N Da Hood, Replacing Gorilla Zoe.”

For those who don’t know, Jordan McCoy and Boyz N Da Hood are both acts signed to Bad Boy Records. McCoy is a 17 year old pop/rock singer who is also a member of Dream, which is a pop girl group. Boyz N Da Hood is a southern, hard core rap group consisting of rappers Big Gee (signed to Bad Boy as a solo artist, as well), Big Duke and Gorilla Zoe (also signed to Bad Boy). Jody Breeze is another member, but his status is up in the air and it sounds like he’s out.

So, really, what I was going for here was some Onion style humor. Something that is rather obviously absurd, but written in a serious, believable manner. Jordan and her manager, Debbie Hammond, are friends of Bad Boy Blog, so I decided to see if we could make it bigger by involving them.

We didn’t have a lot of time, but we pulled something together. First, I posted my report late on March 31. Then, in the afternoon on April 1, her MySpace layout was updated to include “The Newest Member of Boyz N Da Hood!” in the header (see it here). She blogged about it on MySpace and jordanmccoy.com and tweeted about it. I then wrote a post, announcing her confirmation of my report.

So, we collaborated to pull off a pretty good joke and gave her fans a laugh. After I announced it was a prank, she did the same and her MySpace layout was reverted to it’s normal form.

The other joke we did at Bad Boy Blog was to supposedly post a new single from Diddy. While it sounded believable, anyone who clicked the audio player link in the post was taken to a page announcing the prank.

Another April Fools’ Day in the books!

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.

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