Thursday, February 16, 2012

One week in...

For those who intended to deactivate their facebook but missed the official date, we encourage you still consider deactivating your account. In fact, anyone can deactivate anytime during the 30-day period. Whether you have deactivated for two days, two weeks, or the full 30-days, we hope the experience of living without facebook for a period of time will be both informative and insightful.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mass Deactivate!

The experiment begins today! You can deactivate your Facebook anytime throughout the day. And when you do, send an email to letting us know. So far we have around 100 official pledges, but I know that number will increase over the next couple of days.

Check out the website for updates on the experiment!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The experiment begins tomorrow!

Two important questions have arisen in the past couple of days:

  1. Does deactivating your Facebook delete your pictures?
    - No! In fact, deactivating your Facebook changes nothing about your profile, aside from the fact that no one will be able to see it during the period of deactivation. When you log back in everything will still be there.
  2. What time does the experiment begin?
    - It begins tomorrow, February 8th, any time during the day. And it will end one month later on March 8.
If you're thinking about participating and haven't sent an email yet (, please do so that we can include as many people in the discussion as possible.

If you want to try it but don't think you can last the whole month, still send an email. Even if you only last for a couple of days, you will be able to contribute to the discussion (Why did you only last for two days? What drew you back to Facebook so quickly? etc.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How to deactivate

Once you have decided to join Mass Deactivation, it might be helpful to know how to deactivate your account, which is not the most intuitive process:

  1. Click on the little arrow in the top-right corner of the screen
  2. Click "Account Settings"
  3. Click "Security"
  4. Click "Deactivate your account" located at the bottom of the list of options
  5. Underneath the photos telling you how much your friends will miss you (no joke), choose your reason(s) for deactivating. If you choose "other" you have to explain further why you would want to deactivate
  6. Follow the instructions to confirm your deactivation
If/when you decide you want to reactivate, you just log in again.

Important: Deactivating your Facebook does not delete your pictures, posts, friends, interests, or any other information that you have given the company. Everything will still be there when you decide to log back in. Actually deleting your Facebook requires another set of steps.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Less than one week away!

Reminder: deactivation date is Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Right now there are roughly 30-40 people who have pledged either verbally or by email. If you are one of the people who has verbally pledged, please send an email so that I can get an accurate count.

Thanks for all of the positive feedback so far! We've generated a lot of discussion already, but we still have a lot of work to get more people involved. So, if you've sent a pledge, thank you! But your job is not done... now you should spread the word and encourage all of your friends to join the experiment.

If you are hesitant to deactivate, for whatever reason, we strongly encourage you to try it out. It's only for one month and this is a really great opportunity to explore very current and important issues.

If you need some more encouragement, here are two articles that greatly inspired this project: one by Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, and one by Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mass Deactivation is a month-long social experiment that will take place on the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine from February 8, 2012 to March 8, 2012. We are calling this an "experiment" but, in actuality, it is not very scientific, i.e. there will be no control group, no data collection (though there will probably be a survey), etc. In this way it is very informal. Thankfully, however, the goal of Mass Deactivation is not to publish a scholarly paper on the effects of Facebook on society. Rather, we seek to begin a discussion on these issues relating not only to Facebook but social media and technology in general.

How it will work: We'll get as many Bowdoin people as possible to pledge to deactivate their Facebook accounts for the period of February 8 to March 8. Then, during that period, we will go about living in the Bowdoin community just like we would have done ten or fifteen years ago, each day making note of the differences we perceive. Our guiding question, in the broadest possible terms, will be: what does it feel like to exist in the Bowdoin community without Facebook?

Mass Deactivation is not an anti-Facebook campaign or boycott. Our only agenda is to find out how Facebook is affecting our lives. In fact, it would be just as valuable to find that Facebook has enriched our lives and strengthened our ties to one another.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This is the website for Mass Deactivation. Please browse the different sections to learn more.

Ready to pledge? Send us an email at telling us you're ready to pledge to deactivate your account.