You probably won’t like this.

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Hi there. Take a look at the bottom of this article. Can you see the three little buttons there? Please do not click one, because there will be swift consequences if you do.

For instance, click the first one, and all your followers on WordPress will instantly be tipped off that you have done this.

If you click the second button, all of your friends on Facebook will think that you actually like this article. They might even read it too. And believe me, nobody wants that to happen.

Maybe you’re thinking about clicking the third button, but don’t. Click it and you will automatically retweet this article to all your Twitter followers. And if they happen to be checking Twitter at the moment you retweet, they will know what you have done.

The best bet is to do what most people do: Absolutely nothing. It is better to be an anonymous face in the crowd, silently watching, judging and contributing nothing. After all, the online world is just like a big high school playground. There are rules and you must obey them, or risk social ridicule.

Now take a look at the little numbers next to each of the buttons. The bigger the number, the more popular something is. And the more popular something is, the better it is, right? This article is clearly not popular, and it’s better if it stays this way. Do not click one of those buttons under any circumstances.

We have become obsessed with judging everything based on whether it is approved by our friends and followers. And whether we like it or not, they also make us change our own behaviour to get more likes and retweets.

These buttons of approval are the equivalent of canned laughter on TV sitcoms. Without the laugh track, you would never know when Doogie Howser is saying something funny in “How I Met Your Mother”. You’d never know when to chuckle when Sheldon says “Bazinga” in “Big Bang Theory”. And there’d be no way you would realise that “Two and a Half Men” is a comedy.

Say no. Make a stand. Do not become the equivalent of canned laughter. Do not ‘like’ this.

But why on earth did I write this article, you ask? Why did I bother to sit and type this rant if I did not want anyone to read it?

… Well I do want people to read it. Aaaaaarghhhhh! There. I said it. I covet your little signs of approval. I hunger for your retweets. I lust after your likes. I will be checking every hour (maybe more often) to see if the numbers have increased. And when they don’t increase, I will curse all the faceless hordes that are too lazy to leave their mark on the world with a simple click of a button.

Go on. Click the buttons. Click like there is no tomorrow. Click. Click. Click.

Or don’t. I don’t care.

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