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Have you pressed #thebutton?

April Fool’s Day this Year saw rise to many of incredible promotions and cheeky pranks – but even though we thought we had covered all of our bases when we wrote about it, we seem to have missed one that is surprisingly still going.

source: reddit.com
Reddit’s April Fool’s Day prank seemed simple – it was a button. On April 1st Reddit gave users the chance to press the button. Little did they expect that 838,363 clicks later (and counting!) that they’re prank would become a mix of cultist behaviour, social experiment and infuriating mouse-click anxiety.

The button works with a timer which counts down from 60 seconds to 0. Every time someone around the world clicks the button it resets back to 60 and the struggle begins anew. You can only click once and once you do you will be branded with your time forevermore on Reddit.
source: reddit.com
Now the Cultist behaviour is nothing new to Reddit whenever a viral sensation appears. However, this time, a new hierarchy has been formed. Those with the most willpower to resist the allure of premature click reign supreme and why shouldn't they?

Some of you may remember the 2012 Advert in which the restraint of children was tested with the use of the tasty, tasty Haribo. But both that and the button are remarkably similar to the “Delayed Gratification” series of studies taking place at Stanford University. Also known as the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment – not to be confused with the regular Marshmallow experiment.

Imagine coming into work one day and finding a new button installed on your desk. You’re not told what it does it’s just sat there. Well – It’s not difficult to guess what most of us would do.

But if you can resist the temptation, be it the button, marshmallows or even Haribo then good things are in store for you. From the Stanford Experiments it showed that those who could resist have an increased likelihood for better life outcomes, as measured across multiple factors.

Now the button can’t be clicked by anyone who hasn't made an account prior to the event – so my old Psychology professors would be proud of me pointing out that it’s actually a reasonably well controlled experiment – meaning people can’t just create new accounts for better scores and floods of people can’t sign up to partake.  This can give a real insight into not only the general trends of impulse control or lack thereof.

The lowest score I've seen so far is 4 seconds; this is either a monument to a tremendous willpower and an unfaltering resolve to get the best number… or luck.

I have yet to click – it may be due to stubbornness but I won’t be happy until I see the clock hit 1 second. Here's hoping that means my life outcomes are high enough to make me a millionaire, or a superhero... or both!

Have you clicked the button yet?


Adam Coster

This is what happens when a recent Human Biology and Psychology graduate, now pursuing a career in Engineering, is allowed to write for a Social Media Blog. Not a regular writer but managed to refrain from not placing as many cat pictures as he did in his dissertation. Follow him at @AdamAtSMF

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Have you pressed #thebutton? Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, April 27, 2015 Rating: 5

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