Why April Fools deaths and pregnancies are never okay
IN A time before social media trolls, April Fools' Day jokes had a sense of theatre and purpose.
They caught out media organisations which didn't check sources. They cleverly highlighted the fine line between these farcical times and out-and-out satire.
However, for the past few years, the annual prank day has sunk to new - and very unfunny - lows.
Every year Twitter trolls post bogus death announcements, hoping for a spike in their social media following.
Fake death announcements are never funny.
It's not even April 1 and already the fools are out. Today, one Facebook troll posted that Lismore City Council mayor Jenny Dowell, was dead.
Cr Dowell's response on Facebook:
"Apparently someone thought it was a good April Fools Day (early) joke to post on FB that I had died of a heart attack this morning. Not funny- and definitely not true."
Then there are the fake pregnancy posts on Facebook, designed to shock parents and solicit hysterical responses. But the effect is no joke.
32-year-old Lismore mum of three, Kerensa Bell, has shared her distress over April Fools pregnancy pranks.
"I have lost six babies. The last baby I lost was in March last year. This was followed by a hysterectomy. My brother-in-law posted a fake pregnancy announcement on April Fools Day, celebrating my sister's pregnancy, It was still so raw." she said.
Among her miscarriages were twins at 16-weeks gestation.
Ms Bell posted the following meme as a warning of the effects such pranks have on those struggling with fertility and miscarriage.
Make it funny and harmless
Kudra Falla Ricketts, the Greens Page candidate was only 16 when she made national headlines with her April Fools prank in 2014.
Ms Falla Ricketts penned a fake media release from Metgasco -- complete with bogus letterhead. The fake announcement stated the gas miner would be pulling its operations and apologised for the "stress" caused to Northern Rivers residents and congratulating them on their "peaceful and united" enthusiasm for remaining gasfield-free.
Needless to say, Metgasco did not get the joke which could have played mayhem to the share market.
Now 18, the Page hopeful has had time to reflect on her April Fools joke, and offers this advice:
"I think a good prank is something creative and that doesn't hurt anybody.
"Even better if it makes people think or raises awareness about an issue. While doing something a bit risque is fun, from experience I can tell you that it's best to think through possible reactions before you play your prank.
"The best prank is one that's harmless, intelligent and doesn't drag on for too long - is quickly revealed as a joke."