Pos­i­tively friendless

The Press - The Box - - THE BOX - Fair­fax

So you’ve tried Dry July, Oc­sober and maybe you even give up sug­ary temptations through Lent. But could you give up Face­book for 99 days? ‘‘99 Days of Free­dom’’ is a chal­lenge set by Just, a Dutch cre­ative agency, in di­rect re­sponse to Face­book’s con­tro­ver­sial mood ex­per­i­ment made pub­lic last month.

Face­book tested the the­ory that an in­di­vid­ual’s hap­pi­ness could be af­fected by the con­tent they saw on­line.

‘‘99 Days of Free­dom’’ turns the ex­per­i­ment on its head and asks whether people would be hap­pier with­out Face­book.

Just art di­rec­tor Mer­jin Straathof said the ini­tia­tive was spawned from an of­fice joke.

‘‘As we dis­cussed it in­ter­nally, we noted an in­ter­est­ing ten­dency . . . ev­ery­one had at least a ‘com­pli­cated’ re­la­tion­ship with Face­book. Whether it was be­ing tagged in un­flat­ter­ing pho­tos, get­ting into ar­gu­ments with other users or sim­ply re­gret­ting time lost through ex­ces­sive use, there was a sur­pris­ing de­gree of neg­a­tive sen­ti­ment.’’

The non-profit ini­tia­tive asks users to give up Face­book for a 99-day pe­riod, com­plet­ing anony­mous hap­pi­ness sur­veys on days 33, 66 and 99.

Ac­cord­ing to Face­book, the aver­age user spends 17 min­utes a day shar­ing, post­ing, lik­ing and pok­ing.

Al­though giv­ing away the so­cial net­work may sound tough to some, the group says ev­ery par­tic­i­pant will re­ceive some­thing in re­turn: more than 28 hours or 1683 min­utes that would have been spent trawl­ing the site.

Photo: REUTERS

Dig­i­tal diet: Giv­ing up Face­book can gain you some time.

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