Today, around 7am on a lovely Tuesday morning on the 5th October, I did my usual routine. I turned my alarm off, then went straight onto my phone to wake myself up (yes I know, going onto social platforms is not recommended first thing in the morning). Checked my emails, replied to a text message, checked the weather for the day, then of course checked Facebook.
Wait, is my WIFI down? Let's try turning on mobile data. Nothing. That's weird. Instagram? Ok, so it's not just me. After a quick check on the good old internet, of course I realised there was a global outage.
Now for myself, I instantly just shook my head and got to starting my day. It's fine, they'll have them up and running in no time. To not do so would be an immediate PR nightmare.
But fast forward 4 hours and I find myself periodically checking my phone for any updates - refreshing both apps to see if they have made a miraculous recovery. As much as I tell myself this is normal behaviour, I realise the whole world has absolutely lost it at the fact that they can not go on their social platforms. And I'm not going to lie - deep down I know I am one of them.
It's crazy to think just how much we rely on social platforms for education, knowledge sharing, frustration venting, connecting, or even just to laugh at funny cat videos. The Netflix film "The Social Dilemma" painted a sobering, realistic picture of exactly how we are trapped to our social accounts and how much of an effect it has on each individual - and the money that companies make off of our social decisions. As much as I tried to not put myself in the category of needing to go on social media for my personal image, I realise that now it is not just about connecting with friends, or updating your profile picture to look more desirable.
Our work teams, social groups and family groups are all on social platforms, and if someone doesn't respond to group messages or posts within a respected time period all hell breaks loose. Have they been banned? Are they having a bad mental health day? Are they lost in the middle of nowhere? Why are they not on their phones?
With unprecedented changes also happening with COVID-19 and the remote way in which we all work, it is becoming increasingly important to be on social platforms. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are prime examples of how we've become used to utilising these apps to connect with our loved ones all over the world - through group video calls, constant updates on what's going on our lives, and more.
The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is estimated to have lost around $6 Billion USD from just one days' worth of downtime. It's not just individuals and their social connections it affects - it's businesses advertising their services online, ecommerce sites, and so much more.
Other social platform sites are making quick use of the opportunity. Reddit, Discord, Twitter to name a few, all leapt on the chance to gain a lot more engagement, at least for the next 24 hours.
The complete reason as to why the outage occurred is yet to be determined, but whatever the case we can agree that social platforms are a massive part of all of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not. The connections we make and foster, the networks we are part of and the social gratification we receive out of a friendly notification on Facebook are vitally important.
Maybe it's just time we are aware of the downsides as well as the benefits to spending most of our lives on our mobile devices so we can all make informed decisions.
For more information, I highly recommend watching "The Social Dilemma", on Netflix.