There is an international movement for today to be Communication Shutdown Day. This is an effort to raise funds and awareness about autism. The idea is to donate a minimum of $5, then not use the internet for the entire day on November 1st. This means no blogging, e-mailing, facebooking, or Twittering.
Per the website that is behind this movement: "Our aim is to simply encourage a greater understanding from people outside the autism community. Social network users have become reliant and even addicted to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And if they shutdown for 1 day, they will feel a sense of disconnection and a sense of frustration. By creating a little empathy, we hope to encourage a wider understanding and acceptance of people with autism - an understanding we recognise those in the autism community already have."
While I think it's great that they're trying to raise money and empathy, I think it's misguided to believe that someone staying off Facebook for the day would experience what a person with autism experiences. I LOVE the internet as much as anyone, but I don't think depriving myself of it will give me a deeper understanding or empathy. I think it would force me to call friends or actually have coffee with friends instead. The communication shutdown would force me to socialize, which is the opposite of what the aim of it is about!
I encourage you to donate to the autism charity you support (feel free to write me a check. Just kidding. Sort of). That would be great! But I'm also asking you to not avoid the internet like the plague. Please read up on other autism blogs or other sites featuring information on autism. I much rather people read the information that exists on the internet than avoid the internet to simulate something that really cannot be simulated.
If you can encourage your friends and family to visit some blogs or tweet or update their Facebook page about their support of family and friends affected by autism, that would be super too!
If you choose to follow Communication Shutdown Day, you're certainly entitled to make that choice. I'm choosing to not shut up!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Little Bit Quirky who has phrased what is happening today perfectly, and then I'll come back this afternoon to say more: