Start the New Year with a Facebook sabbatical

The Right Click

If you're still looking for a resolution for 2012, consider this one: an artist is proposing that Facebook users take a break from the social networking site.

Designer Ivan Cash is offering up his Facebook Sabbatical kit for anyone willing to take on his challenge. According to Internet Evolution, Cash said the following in an email promoting the website: "I encourage you to consider slowing down and taking a break from Facebook for a relatively small duration of time starting on Jan. 1, 2012, as your New Year's resolution."

Cash's website offers users a pre-made profile image that announces if the user is departing Facebook for one month, one week, or just a couple of days. While it's past the January 1 start he suggests, there's still plenty of time to start the challenge for yourself.

The inspiration for the website was an essay by author Pico Iyer in the New York Times, "The Joy of Quiet." Iyer takes a much more extreme approach, saying that he doesn't use Facebook, Twitter or a cell phone, although even he refers to these as "eccentric" and "extreme measures."

Those who opt to take on the challenge are encouraged to share the news with friends, using the hashtag #FacebookSabbatical. A quick survey of those using the hashtag shows that some are still using Google+ and Twitter, but one social network less is still an improvement, right?

As someone who tried this for two months back in 2009, I can tell you this isn't an easy challenge. Sure, you won't miss tending to your virtual farm, but the reality is that so many people now rely on Facebook as a central form of communication, it was akin to me giving up email or my phone.

Taking on this challenge puts on the onus on you to compensate for the communication gap and contacting those you think will miss you on the social network yourself. Then again, I think that's part of Cash's point.

(Image from Facebook Sabbatical)