The Blackout Of Facebook And Its Sister Platforms Revealed Quite The Emotional Toll In Its Wake

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp quite suddenly and unexpectedly went under for a total of six hours on Monday. The ensuing reaction only highlights just how linked the online world is to our real one.

This author is sure that, for many readers going through this article, the lack of social media was a minor inconvenience at best. Some may even be huffing and scoffing at the headline, talking about millennials and how they're so addicted to their phones. To the latter half, we're about to go down a list of problems that jut out just a tad bit further from inconvenience. If long-standing social disconnect isn't worrisome enough, let's try on economic collapse for starters, shall we?

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are more than just social media platforms to bounce memes back and forth between friends and family. They've become important grounds for conducting interviews, collecting CVs, business transactions, team building, activism and so on and so forth. Where phone calls are limited by the number of people one can call (and the ensuing bill for pushing that number), and messages are limited by the lack of additional media, these platforms help supplement everything that a working individual needs. Being cut away from that, for even a limited amount of time, is risking valuable income, especially in an economy this cruel. Being locked outside of your office for four hours may seem like a frivolous situation, but chucking a brick at the window won't solve problems here.

The pandemic has also undoubtedly helped accelerate much of the reliance on these platforms as a form of business. With the work from home culture, and many individuals being sacked in the process, Facebook and WhatsApp became a central part of conducting oneself throughout the work day. Teams almost exclusively contacted each other and relayed information through these platforms. A four hour gap, especially at the wrong time, meant that a typical 9-5 work day would lose literally half of its momentum. The best case scenario is losing contact with important clients, and conveying the problem to them via text messaging.

But let's put the workplace aside, since we're not here to discuss "the grind" anyways. Another major, and rather worrying, effect of the blackout was sociological. In an environment where we're constantly connected to each other via the internet, 4 hours can lead to a lot of loneliness. While the advent of the internet has led to no one being more than a simple message away, robbing users of that facility means that these very users have to deal with a rather odd sense of loneliness, the likes of which older generations cannot comprehend.

Older generations have had the benefit of living in more face-to-face sociable times. Since quick communication wasn't always readily available, we made do with other forms of it. Simply calling ourselves better due to this is, in this author's opinion, not justifiable. Had we been raised in an environment where communication was so simple, 4 hours would have had their toll. We forget far too easily for our own good how confiscating books and toys would send us into similar episodes of abject irritation, boredom, and if we're willing to accept it, loneliness.

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