It was a typical Thursday night online until Winnetka, Illinois resident Cassie Rotondi, 26, shocked her friends and family by posting an update to Facebook after a two-and-a-half week absence.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says former acquaintance Jeff White. “I’m just staring at my phone like, ‘Is she really back on Facebook?’”
The understated post, which just said “Hey guys, lol” marked Rotondi’s return to the website after a highly publicized hiatus that began a mere 17 days earlier. Her departure from Facebook was meant to last a full year in a public effort to “go off the grid” and “reject screen culture.”
“I didn’t think she’d last a year,” sister Katrina Rotondi, 24, confessed, “but less than a month? It’s kind of depressing.”
While many users return to Facebook after a shorter amount of time than they expected, Rotondi had advertised her exit with a two-week countdown and the hashtag #RotondiLeavesFB.
“To be honest, all of us were looking forward to Cassie getting off Facebook,” an anonymous source reported. “Between the articles, petitions, music videos, quiz results, and essay-like status updates, she was pretty much monopolizing the feed.”
“The moment I saw her post last night, I thought I was having a heart attack,” former roommate Dhivya Shankar, 27, shared. “I immediately unfollowed her. I am taking my freaking life back and not putting up with that bullshit anymore.”
Rotondi, however, seems to be confident in her return.
“I thought that by leaving Facebook I would be more engaged with culture and deep thought,” Rotondi wrote in a Facebook status posted late last evening, “but it turns out that being online here with you is wear [sic] the most productive discussion can happen.”
A few others seem excited to have her back in the online ranks.
Former teacher Kathy Nelson, now retired, was relieved to see Rotondi back online. “She’s a smartie,” Nelson shared in a Facebook message, “and she always shares the most fun quizzes!”
At press time, Rotondi had already posted six updates, three photos, one petition, and in the most unpopular move of all, had linked her Twitter feed to her Facebook.
“I think my hiatus has given me a new perspective and I’m really looking forward to being back,” says Rotondi, while reposting a video of a red panda shitting on a penguin. “This is where community is born.”