There is a great campaign every February called "Feb-Fast", encouraging Australians to give up alcohol completely for one month. Clearly it was inspired by someone who no doubt went a bit overboard during the silly season and thought it best to go into self-imposed rehab for a month. They can't have been alone in their thinking, because Feb-Fast is now a very successful yearly charity drive. Click here for the Website and see for yourself. They have celebrity ambassadors, a leader board of fundraisers and plenty of corporate sponsors – not a bad Website either!
I didn't drink too much over the silly season, but I did indulge in facebook way too much! In my down-time, my facebook up-time was ramped up beyond acceptable levels. This is partly due to the fact that, well, almost everyone I know is on there, so I thought I could hardly avoid going there if I want to stay in touch. It is also because I was involved in a few creative projects and so I figured it was the best way to hook up with my collaborators. I am not so sure now...
Using facebook to network and collaborate is not that efficient. If you have built up too many ‘friends’, as I have done, you end up with an overwhelming stream of distracting posts ranging from fascinating videos and links to ridiculous images people really should have thought twice about before posting and way too many photos of dinner plates full of food. On top of all that, there is a constant flow of alerts, not to mention chat requests, responses to old posts I had made and a never ending raft of facebook changes that I end up having to stay informed about.
In the end, the productivity I thought I was getting involved with became about 10% of the total time I was spending on there.
Remember, facebook, although it looks like it was set up for us to use, really exists for the benefit of the owners of the site. Their policies and how the site develops is primarily driven by how they might maximise profits while not appearing to be pushing their luck with their audience. This is why there have been so many controversies over the years. What is good for us may not be good for them and vice versa. In the end, public opinion might stop them getting carried away, but since they have so much control, they will always win (unless, of course, another site or another platform takes off).
Perhaps by taking a month off facebook, I might spend some time contemplating this. Where is the Web going? What is wrong with the way it works and how might it function better and more in line with the public good, rather than for the benefit of a select few?
Besides these grand questions, I just reckon it might be a good idea to give it a rest and find out what life is like without social media for a month. Who knows what might happen with all that new found spare time?