Can’t go 10 minutes without checking Facebook? How would you feel about giving it up for 99 days? This Dutch non-profit wants you to do just that.
“99 Days of Freedom,” a non-profit initiative from Dutch creative agency Just, wants participants to abstain from the social network for more than three months and participate in “happiness surveys” to see if their mood improves as a result.
Just’s Art Director, Merijn Straathof, explained that the project came from brainstorming after news of Facebook’s controversial mood experiments went viral. “As we discussed it internally, we noted an interesting tendency: To a person, everyone had at least a ‘complicated’ relationship with Facebook,” Straathof said. “Then someone joked, ‘I guess that the real question is, ‘How do you feel when you don’t use Facebook?’ There was group laughter, followed by, ‘Wait a second. That’s a really good question!’”
Given that Facebook’s 1.2 billion users spend an average of 17 minutes on the site a day, Just estimates that 99 Days’ participants will save 28 hours of wasted time over three months. The non-profit’s directors suggest using that time to volunteer, learn a new skill or post to the group’s message board about what they’re doing with their Facebook-free time.
And while 99 days without Facebook may seem like an eternity to some, Straathof and his team do not mean for the experiment to be permanent. The group does not even ask participants to delete their profiles but rather post a “time-off” profile picture for the duration of the Facebook fast.
“Facebook is an incredible platform, we’re all fiercely loyal users and we believe that there’s a lot to love about the service,” Straathof said. “But we also feel that there are obvious emotional benefits to moderation.”
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