April 02, 2005

The Apostle Paul Hoax

It is a long-standing tradition to not trust any news you see breaking online on April 1. I am not a big prankster, and yesterday's post about a false inscription might have been the first April First joke I've ever done. I found a few things interesting:

  1. My circulation on that day was double my average daily circulation. The "came from" referrants were mostly "No referring link", which could mean they came to the site through a bookmark, an email, a feed aggregator on their computer, etc. I would guess the latter.
  2. Is it any wonder then, where the temptation comes from to perpetrate such archeological fraud in our field. If my little experiment was any indicator, the immediateness of the interest it generated is something quite powerful.
  3. Despite this larger viewing, I received absolutely NO emails, contacts, or IM's about the joke. This is unusual even for mundane posts. There was no "Well done" or a "Nice nob on the image", nor any "You evil thing". The only exception was an IM telling me the newspaper link didn't work. She was not pleased later to discover the full nature of the artcile.
    What I take from this silence is that no one likes to fess up having been taken by the joke. There were no "Aw man, you got me." comments. Or, the disturbing possibility is that a portion of the audience read the blog article, thought it was interesting, stored it into their mind of little tidbits they know about the ancient world, and moved on. Yikes. That's the danger, I suppose, of choosing a topic that's not earth-shattering and well-done enough to be believable (unlike Jim West's prank).
But, I'm speaking here from the evidence of silence, so what do I know? I do know I enjoyed some of the other April 1 news releases in the Mac world. Many of them had fun with the i* line of products:
  • iTunes phone, a jammin' mobile phone
  • iCopulate, device for linking iPods
  • 2good, a free Windoze emulator that is too good to be true
    And my absolute favorite:
  • iNote, a preview of Apple's upcoming PDA--well done!

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