By Elissa Fink March 31, 2009

Did you remember this morning that it's April Fool's Day? Are you wondering who else in the world is playing jokes today and how you compare? Well, wonder no more. We've got the results of a semi-extensive survey about April Fool’s Day to answer your most pressing questions.

First, the basics. Just how immature do you have to be to prank someone? As it turns out, not very. As the visualization below shows, our "jokesters" (people who said yes, they'd be pranking someone this year) rated themselves only slight less mature than people who won't be pranking. But what seems to determine whethere you'll be pranking this year is how much you've pranked in the past. This year's pranksters pranked an average of 5 times in the last 10 years while non-pranksters have only pranked 1 time. I guess once a jokester, always a jokester.

Data visualization of people likely to prank on april fool's

Let’s take this connection of past joke-playing behavior related to maturity level a little further. Just how tight is the relationship? And how much does age impact it? The viz below suggests there’s a pretty steep regression line between declining maturity levels and frequency of historical joke-playing. But note the impact of age – which is represented by color. Young people who rate themselves as immature do not play jokes to the level of their older counterparts. I guess when you’re young, there are just so many other ways to show immaturity – why waste it on just one day a year?

Data visualization of immaturity age on likely april fool's joker status

So if you’re trying to watch yourself today and get in a good joke without being a victim, just who should you look out for?

Well our data says watch out for those Retired people! The first set of bars below shows the average of jokes played by them in the past while the second set shows the average of jokes played on them in the past. Obviously, Retired folks have time on their hands – they rank #1 in historical joke playing and almost last in jokes being played on them.

Other people to watch out for? Finance/Administration and HR (you’d think they’d know better). Shockingly, Marketing and Sales people are just middle of the pack. And if you’re in Customer Service or Support, here’s a bit of advice. Stop being so nice. You don’t play a lot of jokes but you sure get a decent number played on you.

Data Visualization of Job Functions vs Victims for April Fools Day

You can also way evaluate your risk by looking at who pranks who. We looked at this by job title. It appears that managers and non-managers (individual contributors) are wise enough to keep the jokes out of the workplace and pick on their family members and personal friends (the green colors). But executives? Hmmm. This is where that talk about “executives being risk-takers” seems to show up. Although more of them tend to say they won't prank anyone (purple color), when they do prank, not only do they pick their victims at work at greater levels (the golden colors) but they also are the only ones to pick on their bosses!

Data Visualization of Which Titles Are Likely to Prank for April Fools Day

I could go on and on about what we’ve discovered but I won’t. You just don’t have the time. If you’re reading this on April Fool’s day, you’ve only got hours left to figure out if you’ll be pranking someone and who you should watch out for. So get going!

Comments

One more thing... When we collected the survey, we asked people what their own favorite pranks were (either played by them or played on them). Below are a few of the funny ones:

"One of the more innocent ones ;-) Played a prank that a baby shower will be a double shower, making friends believe that the girl's mother (future grandma) is also expecting. She received quite a few unexpected cheers from the fooled friends and family;-)"

"At Rivals.com, for Halloween, the engineers (4th floor) organized a raid on the biz folks (5th floor). We dressed up in scary costumes and ordered 20,000 ping pong balls and threw them at everyone for about 5 minutes, screaming and yelling the whole time. It was a blast."

"My daughter called from Israel, left a message, saying that she was caught using drugs and was being kicked off the program she was on and being put on a plane home."

"We, me and 3 others, VNC'ed into one guy's PC. He would find one and think it was over, but the next guy would take control. We disabled his rights to kill the app."

"When I was looking for a job right after college, my friends typed up a letter (pre-internet) that offered me my dream job. Of course they knew exactly what to put in... My excitement went on for hours before they started asking repeatedly who sent me the letter... it was from someone named April Fulz."

Who'd have thought those straight laced Finance folks were the ones pranking and getting pranked!