Surviving the great social media outage of Oct. 4, 2021

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So how do you handle the recent national chaos? Did you stay holed up at home? Did you go out and about your business as if nothing was happening? Did you try to remain calm but were also feeling a little bit panicked and scared?

We get it, the day Facebook and Instagram both went offline for hours was frightening.

You thought I was referring to the pandemic? No, I am referring to the great social media outage of Oct. 4, 2021. The day Facebook and Instagram went dark. It was, we are told, the longest time either platform has gone offline since 2008.

As someone who makes her living online, I am usually the first to notice — and panic — when the internet is down. I tend to react as if all the oxygen has left the area.

Grid lover

To be clear, I have no desire to be off the grid. I do not find it peaceful. I am firmly on the grid. I love the grid. I love power and connectivity. I have rejected campgrounds because they didn’t have good service.

I would turn down living anywhere — even paradise — if it did not have high-speed internet readily available. I’m not proud of it, but it is who I am as a person. I have accepted it.

Still, there was something almost, dare I say it, enjoyable about two social media giants going offline all day long. I could still enjoy the wonders of the internet. Reading, research, online shopping.

What I didn’t do was answer “notifications.” I had no idea if people liked my posts or not. I had no clue if I was being tagged or mentioned.

I did not have to manage any one of the many ad campaigns going at any given time for the businesses I manage. I dimly recalled there was once a time when this was … everyday life.

Print

I also quickly thought back to a time when we got our news from printed newspapers, and our advertising budget went to printed or televised media as well. Now the bulk of public relations, customer service and advertising goes to social media platforms.

Losing those did make me wonder if putting all our ad eggs in one basket was wise in retrospect. The short answer: probably not.

We have become a nation that already gets virtually all of our “news” — and I use that term loosely — via Facebook. If you do that, you probably should not. I suggest you find actual newspapers and subscribe. I know — it’s crazy!

If you don’t want a printed paper delivered, consider an online subscription. More importantly, consider something that stretches your mind and your horizons.

If at least one or two articles a day or week don’t make you think outside your own box of experiences, try another publication. We do not learn in echo chambers of our own mindset and opinions.

That’s my opinion on that. We didn’t have Facebook Monday when it occurred to me, so I just have to share it all with you here.

I also found myself completely without inspiring memes, recipes for things I will probably never cook, and notifications of birthdays for people I have not seen since 12th grade. Dear kid who sat behind me in study hall decades ago, happy belated birthday

Take a break

The day the social media died — or at the very least went down — has shone a bright light on how reliant many of us are on the algorithm and “feeds.” Our jobs, sales, and in some cases, self-worth, all flow through the social media giants.

It is probably a good idea if we all take a break from time to time and consider branching out so one arm of social media doesn’t hold the key to all our business — or our pleasure.

According to Fortune’s billionaire tracking website, “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune plunged by nearly $6 billion from the prior day to land at just under $117 billion.”

On the bright side, now that Facebook is working again, he can sign up for one of the many Facebook groups that explain how to use coupons and sign up for special offers to help him get by.

Of course, we are not new to technology. Most of us have had access to computers for decades. When Facebook, Instagram and the internet as a whole crash, we are not novices.

Next time our social media giants go down, we can provide the fix. We will make helpful suggestions such as, “Have you tried hitting ‘Enter’ a whole bunch of times?” “Now try it angrily.”

If nothing else works, just revert to the tried and true “have you tried turning it off and then back on again?”

STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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