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The Snatch: Still Mourning the Slide-Rule 

Wednesday, Jul 16 2014
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Summer Vacation

Could you quit Facebook for 99 days — and still be happy? A new online experiment has riled hardcore social media users by asking anyone and everyone to dump Facebook cold turkey for the next three-plus months. The whole point is to test the quitters' mental health and overall ability to function while not being bombarded by jejune quizzes, "likes," and pictures of your friend from third grade and her kid's Monday swim lesson. The campaign, dubbed 99 Days of Freedom, started in reaction to Facebook's secret social media experiment, studying how changing the content on a user's news feed could affect general mood. Some 700,000 users were unwittingly co-opted into participating. Needless to say, the whole experiment backfired when users discovered what was happening — and it left the masses in a very bad mood. To get started on your quitting, all you have to do is change your profile pic to the generic "99 Days of Freedom" image (download it at 99daysoffreedom.com), then create your own countdown. Sign off Facebook and go do something useful with your time. Like coming up with new social media challenges.

Gold in Them Thar Nooks

Now that the wealthy benefactor behind @HiddenCash has moved his social experiment to L.A., a new spinoff has launched in San Francisco. And fittingly, it's got a crypto-currency twist. @SFHiddenBitcoin has started a Bitcoin scavenger hunt in the Bay Area's tech basin, leaving photographed clues on Twitter for users to find paper wallets worth about .0333333 BTC (approximately $20). Enthusiasts point out that it will be far easier for @SFHiddenBitcoin to monitor his loot than it was for @HiddenCash (who was later unmasked as controversial real estate mogul Jason Buzi.) All Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a ledger, so there's no need for lucky prize-seekers to photograph their plunder. We're holding out for the guy who hides gold bars — that's where the real value is.

About The Author

Staff, SF Weekly

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