Earlier this month, Facebook made headlines for reasons some might consider enraging: It used nearly a million of its users as guinea pigs to gauge the service's emotional influence. An experiment like this is hardly that surprising of a company like Facebook, but that shouldn't make it something we should have to put up with. We followed-up to that story with news that British regulators weren't too happy about Facebook's project, and are now investigating a possible violation of its data protection laws.
Despite the ethics, what's done is done, and what Facebook found was that a person's mood could be influenced quite easily. If you look at your news feed and see one sad thing after another, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it will affect your mood. On the other side of the coin, if all you read are positive things, it's likely to put a little spring in your step.
The organizers of the "99 Days of Freedom" project figure that there's an even easier way to keep happy: By staying off of Facebook. This is a project that was launched as a direct response to Facebook's previous experiment, and if you're interested in participating, you can join the experiment on the official website, and then provide feedback at the end of your 99 days.
If you decide to join in on the fun, the website offers a customized profile photo you can download that will let all of your friends know that you're going to be away for a little while. By participating, the project estimates that you'll save 1683 minutes by not visiting Facebook during those 99 days.
Despite the fact that this experiment is only just launching now, I can already predict what the result is going to be like. I do believe that staying away from Facebook, and social media in general, can make you happier. I use Facebook because it's a necessary evil; I use it for business and to keep up on things, and since I'm already there, I toss out my fair share of "Likes" and comments.
That said, while I believe Facebook could be less mind-numbing, many friends see to it that it's not. A personal pet peeve are those who share any photo that asks them to - you know the ones. "Share If You Love Your Sister", "Share If You're Against Animal Cruelty", "I'm The Color Red. Click Here To Discover YOUR Color". *smashes face off of keyboard*. Perhaps we should start a project to help people realize how brainless they can be on Facebook?