Could 99 Days Away from Facebook Be the Secret to Happiness?

Social media initiative "99 Days of Freedom" wants you to log off Facebook, and see how you feel.

Sep 12, 2014
Special Collections: DISCONNECT TO CONNECT

Photo by Joaquin Villaverde Photography

The average person spends 8.3 hours on Facebook per month – that’s an impressive figure. A whopping 1.2 billion users share photos and status updates, connect with close friends and distant acquaintances, “Like” and “Poke” and comment away – but is any of this making us happy?
That’s the question that non-profit initiative “99 Days of Freedom” wants to answer, by urging users to refrain from Facebook usage for – you guessed it – 99 days. The movement recommends three simple steps: change your profile picture to the “99 Days” logo, share a link to explain your digital absence to friends, and then just do it – don’t log on for 99 days. What you do next is up to you.
Adding its voice to a chorus of digital detox initiatives, 99 Days will poll participants using “happiness surveys” at the 33-, 66- and 99-day marks, assessing how the digital hiatus affects personal notions of joy. The organizers believe that 99 days will be short enough that users stay motivated and engaged, and yet long enough to see significant effects to mood – hopefully for the better.
But how will you share insights if you can’t log on to Facebook to post a status update? This digital savvy non-profit has you covered, with a message board through which participants can post anonymous accounts of how the undertaking is impacting their lives.
With over 35,000 participants “enjoying freedom” so far, the initiative stands to pump happiness levels around the world – if they do indeed find out that time away from Facebook is equal to increased contentment.

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