Is #FACEBOOKBREAK the New Social Media Holiday?

It’s hard to recall the first time you hear about a trend.

It often starts with a friend or two – maybe in your Facebook stream. They “Like” a page for the Dukan diet or start sharing links to a particular type of workout using milk jugs filled with sand.

You might notice others jumping on the band wagon, and have a moment of “huh” before realize that your whole newsfeed has gone Paleo, right before your eyes and g-d forbid you post something about a brownie that isn’t made entirely  out of almond flour.  The hipsters will eat you alive, as a protein snack. I

t’s easy to get consumed by a trend, even when your not a part.

The latest fad isn’t about food, but it is about discipline and self denial, to some extent.  It’s also about mental and physical health, or so the early adopters say. The latest fad off Facebook is about getting off of Facebook. Bailing. See ya!

There is such a thing as too much togetherness. Humans weren’t wired to hear each other’s thoughts all day long. It’s addictive and destructive and, it turns out, more than a lot of us can take. With many articles coming out about how unhappy Facebook is making us, a massive wave of confessions about facebook misery is starting to crest. I wrote about how Facebook envy affects parents on my Babble blog.

 Desperate times call for desperate measures. Misery, it turns out, doesn’t really love company. Misery would prefer to be left alone. Maybe without the harsh scrutiny of others and a million press-release-like status updates a day to deal with, misery would be less miserable.

Hence, #FACEBOOKBREAK . It’s like a mini vacation, from the you-niverse.

Some proponents of the Facebook break up like to do it publicly and dramatically – posting what is essentially a social suicide note explaining everything that’s wrong with the state of their network before locking themselves out of their own accounts –  in case they experience a moment of weakness after pulling the plug. But not everyone goes out in flames. Some of them break up more soberly, vowing to return, after they’ve achieved a little distance and regained some perspective. They just need a little space.

#FACEBOOKBREAK is gathering steam with such velocity that I almost wonder if there will soon be package deals for the Facebook disenfranchised to assist them with their experience. Sort of like Spring Break, with  a free app! Offers to detox at remote wifi free locations would come with festive, themed break up notices to post to your wall and save-the-date countdown calendars to remind people of your planned return. While away, the apps would bank your internet-free, uber idyllic life  moments for posting upon your return. In case of serious emergency, or if you win an Oscar, the app might let you tweet.

Why do they do it?

“I need to connect more with my REAL friends” said my sister in law

“I’m not being productive enough, Facebook is a waste of my time,” said a colleague

“It’s just making me too crazy,” admitted a friend.

“It was a relief during Hurricane Sandy when I didn’t have to go online”, at least one person told me.

Still, I have to wonder how much trend has to do with this. There’s something faddish about the spontaneous group decision that Facebook is something we should ration, and possibly fast from. There’s also less fear of being weird when everyone’s temporarily calling it quits with you.

The real reason is more simple I think. Taking a #FACEBOOKBREAK is in vogue right now.

What I wonder: Will G+ profit in the interim? Will all these folks show back up in my stream a month from now, flush with the excitement of some fresh Google Buzz? After the break is over, will Facebook followers crawl back to their Facebook feed, guiltily insisting  that it wasn’t meaningful with G+, that they were just “on a break”?

Or will a little need for space, result in Facebook starting to look more and more like MySpace?




  1. Donna says

    Much as I would like to leave (more as a protest against FB’s ever-changing standards and formats) — I can’t. It is still the most effective way to communicate with my communities. Alas – am also stepping up presence on G+. More platforms = more divided time.

  2. says

    I’m writing a post right now about guesting on the #PowerDown podcast and preparing for my BlissDom session about the power of uninterrupted thought. I’ll have to link to your post because I hadn’t even heard of #FacebookBreak. That’s sort of my point, though, I suppose.

    Also? I’m totally NOT a fan of announcing a break. From anywhere. I just disappear. It’s easy, as people aren’t used to seeing me in their streams much. There are good reasons for that.

    (I am not writing my post in your comments. I am not writing my post in your comments. ;) )

  3. says

    I miss you. I notice when you go away! And I just made up #FacebookBreak. It’s catchy sounding, right? Facebook locked me out for several days a couple of weeks ago, by accident. It was a blessing in disguise. I’d love a break, if my work wasn’t so reliant on maintaining community and presence for myself and clients, I’d be gone. No note either. I’d be too busy knitting on a porchswing at a lakehouse or something.

  4. Anonymous says

    I feel like I’m sorta-always on a Facebook break, as mentioned in another comment, the changing policies, issues with promoted posts, etc., makes me feel like being elsewhere. And your MySpace comparison is very apt.

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