Wean Yourself Off Facebook with Shock Therapy and Harassing Phone Calls

Two MIT students were having trouble finishing their dissertations because of Facebook. Time for some high-tech weaning.

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Two MIT students, Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff, were having trouble finishing their dissertations. The culprit? Too much social media.

Doing what I can only assume any MIT students would do, they leveraged technology to solve their problems.

It was a two-pronged approach. Prong one included connecting a shock circuit to a computer on one end and to conducting pads that sat atop a keyboard wrist wrest on the other end. Morris and McDuff wrote a script that could detect when they started cruising Facebook, at which time a current got sent to the conducting pads, shocking their wrists.

They call it the Pavlov Poke, which is documented in the below video:


Prong two involved no shock therapy, but it did involve fielding harassing phone calls from strangers. In Pavlov Poke – Phone Edition, Morris and McDuff used a script that monitored when they went on Facebook, then posted a job to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk ( an on-demand workforce market) offering $1.40 to anyone willing to call Morris or McDuff and berate them for using Facebook:


While Morris and McDuff write that “this project is intended to be a joke,” they’ve made the files and instructions available to anyone desperate enough to want to seriously cut down daily diversions. You know who you are.

Pavlov Poke [RobertMorris.org via TechCrunch]