On November 1st, a silent movement took place. Aside from a few viral videos and well-thought-out blogs, the campaign commenced without yelling or screaming. People were taking a stand without so much as a sound. And that was the point of Communication Shutdown Day: People around the globe participated in what seems unfathomable – a day without social media. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Foursquare. Why on Earth would anybody participate in such a thing and how many people actually did it?
Communication Shutdown Day is the brainchild of an Australian autism organization that enlisted the help of celebrities like television’s Fran Drescher to put the spotlight on the communication challenges children with autism face. Organizers of the event created a special charity app available to folks who donated $5 or more to the cause. In return, donors received a shutdown badge to place over their Facebook and Twitter profiles, integrated their photos into a global mosaic and other cool stuff to let their online friends know that they would be silent November 1st. Money donated went to several global autism organizations. At the writing of this article, hundreds of thousands of donations had been collected as folks from around the planet had tuned into the cause and tuned out of social media for just one day.
College campuses across the country recently have participated in similar experiments which always make the news simply because most of us find it impossible to imagine a life without our social media crutches. In the case of Communication Shutdown Day, however, fundraising was performed by discouraging the use of the very media being employed to promote the event.
Social media fasting for a cause is indeed an intriguing and noble idea and there is no doubting the publicity generated by these events. What remains to be seen, however, is if these social media uprisings actually create awareness for a nonprofit organization and – more importantly – whether they generate much-needed funds.
What do you guys think? Does social media fasting actually work?