Could you handle a 99-day Facebook fast? Photo: Just
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 which was made public last month.
The three small steps participants must take to complete the 99-day challenge. Photo: 99 Days of Freedom website
Facebook's experiment tested the theory that an individual's happiness could be affected by the content they see 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.
"Then someone joked, 'I guess that the real question is, 'How do you feel when you don't use Facebook?'," she said.
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.
Straathof said there was some debate about how long the experiment should be.
"If it’s too extended, participants will lose interest. If it’s too short, there’s no meaningful behavioural change to assess. In the end, we landed on a 99-day, hoping that such interaction will serve as a support group of sorts," she said.
According to Facebook, the average user spends 17 minutes a day sharing, posting, liking and poking.
While giving away the social network may sound tough to some, the group says every participant will recieve something in return: more than 28 hours or 1683 minutes that would have been spent trawling the site.
"Our prediction is that the experiment will yield a lot of positive personal experiences and, 99 days from now, we’ll know whether that theory has legs," said Straathof.