The idea of social media rehab is nothing new to South Florida geek Jeffrey Sass (@sass), a technology and entertainment exec self-described as a "a gadget geek and early adopter at heart." Sass has one up on the American Psychiatric Association. He started pondering social media rehab in 2007, when he invented a fake treatment facility called Invitations, complete with a Facebook page and an online application that has the option of checking the box "OMG, I'd rather tweet than eat!"
The mock Invitations center was the original focus of his tongue-in-cheek blog, Social Networking Rehab: 28 Days. In the past two years, Sass has written about all the steps -- 12 of them and counting -- that he's taken to "recover" from his second life online. He has also shared sneaky ways to get away with "relapse."
"Hollywood celebrities have always had a place to go to when they needed help, like Promises in Malibu," said Sass during a phone interview. "When I saw how much people like myself and others were spending time online, I thought we also needed an exclusive place to get off the wagon. When you poke fun at it, though, you realize we really are enmeshed in our social networks."
Respected Miami writer and blogger Maria De Los Angeles (@vicequeenmaria) recently used her "Silicon Beach" column in the Miami New Times Riptide blog to chime in on news of the "ReSTART" Internet Addiction residential treatment center that opened over the summer near Redmond, Washington. Maria was kind enough to point out that for more than two years now, the INVITATIONS Social Networking Recovery Facility has been providing its own form of (comic) relief to those who get twitchy without their Twitter and treat Facebook like a fetish.
When she interviewed me for the article Maria asked if INVITATIONS had its own Twitter account and I realized it did not. Shame on me. How can we treat the affliction without truly understanding its allure. With that in mind I am pleased to announce that you can now follow Social Networking Rehab on Twitter: @SocNetRehab.
As a reminder of the dangers of Social Media, here is the original Public Service Announcement produced by INVITATIONS: