April Fool’s Day: Let the reader beware
April 1, 2012 | 4:00 am
Happy April Fool’s Day! Check the date and think twice before believing what you read on the Internet for the next few days. This is the day when people try to trick you into believing something ridiculous.
As I wrote last year, April Fool’s Day really ought to remind us that we should be reading as if it’s April Fool’s Day every day of the year. At least half of what you read online isn’t true, and nobody knows for sure which half it is. That’s true about e-books, about computers, about any subject people care and hold opinions about on-line. (And, for that matter, the non-obvious April Fool’s jokes will linger on the rest of the year, fooling the unwary who don’t think to check the date.)
On the other hand, if the Internet is a playground of deceit, it’s also an unparalleled tool for cutting through to find the truth. We have access to research tools that librarians of just a decade or so ago could only dream of—we just have to remember when to use them.
So if something seems too good (or bad, or strange) to be true, do your research before you believe it and pass it on. Especially for today and the next few days, but it would be a good idea to keep that in mind all year ‘round.