We (Damian Bradfield, Laurel Schwulst and I) are organizing a day of no social media called Empty Day happening on October 12, 2019. It’s a day we all agree to leave social media alone. Instead, we agree to reconnect IRL and maybe even go outside. We “go quietly” for a day. The day is also about bringing more awareness to the importance of mental health as we become further isolated by these platforms. As it happens, World Mental Health Day is on October 10th.

When we first thought of this idea, we imagined what the streets/feeds of social media would look like if they were empty for just one day. Similar to the experience of looking out the window after a night of snow.

To make this a reality, we need a lot of help getting the word out there, primarily on social media. I know that sounds a bit odd that we are using social media to get people off social media, but it’s the only way we can make this happen.

One way we are trying to spread the word is by asking supporters to customize their social media avatars into the shapes of leaves. Our hope is to turn social media into a forest. It’s a simple way of collectively showing that we will be absent from social media on 10/12. If you would like to pledge your support, please consider making a leaf avatar. I built a little tool for doing just that here. You could also tell your followers why you are changing your avatar to a leaf. Something like:

Just changed my avatar to a leaf for #emptyday. I'll be taking a one day vacation from social media on October 12th to reconnect with people IRL.

I have made my avatar into a leaf in honor of #emptyday. I pledge to not use social media on October 12, 2019. October is world mental health month, and I want to use my networked device in a healthier way for my mind and body.

Of course, you can change it back whenever you’d like but we would love if you kept your leaf until October 12. It would be amazing if you encouraged others to do so too but no pressure.

Lastly, just wanted to be clear that we are not company, charity, or any other organization. We are just a few people that would like to see social media used in more creative and healthier ways. Find out more info about our project over here.