“Why is Mr. T in every Gizmodo post?!?” That was Avram, our friendly Web editor and blogmaster, around 4 o’clock yesterday. “Hillary Clinton dropped out?!” Me, about five minutes later. Our corner of the office was a confused one yesterday. Random exclamations through the cubicles, followed by a sheepish “ohhhh.” Someone got the joke five seconds too late. I quickly
got bored with caught on to Gizmodo’s ploy, but I still fell for three-too-many pranks (Hillary Clinton’s drop-out not included. I swear, I fact-check my stories better than I do gossip.) As for the others? Elaborate tech pranks. First, I almost had a heart attack when I read that Nick Denton, head of Gawker Media, had sold my favorite feminist blog, Jezebel, to Condé Nast, corporate purveyor of magazines like Vogue and Glamour. In my fury, I skipped all the jaded comments, swallowed the snark-free commenting rules, and only raised an eyebrow when I saw half the staff had been fired and that the new editors were named Steeny and Eva Braunstein. (Har? Okay, moving on.) Then, I got really excited when I heard about Gmail’s new feature, Gmail Custom Time, which claimed to let users send e-mails back in time, so that they never miss important deadlines again. It’s not really funny (although it makes more sense than last year’s Google prank, Google Paper), but it’s unethical, it’s shady, and it would be totally sweet if it actually existed. I fell for it, as did most of the people sitting around our conference table this morning. Eva, our copy editor and former fact checker, is the unsurprising exception. Then there was iPEnIS. I don’t want to talk about that one. Eva is laughing at me as she copy edits this. To my credit, I didn’t notice or fall prey to any of Google’s other pranks, including Virgle, an open-source trip to Mars co-sponsored by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Google Calendar’s “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” (for random events) and Wake Up Kit, or YouTube’s home page, which directed all users to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley (along with tragic “Rick-rolling” incidents occurring throughout the Web). That last one would have been all we needed to party it up with half the staff at CTIA.