It’s been a long time since I’ve written on the topic of technology and social media. Then comes the Facebook outage and I start to look into how the world has handled it.
But I’m finding the angle of the topic has almost turned in on itself in recent years. To be honest, as a mental health professional even I didn’t see things going in this direction.
Just when we thought we still had to ride out the current dilemma of the petrol crisis, then comes another. Facebook (and thus Instagram and Whatsapp) goes down.
Albeit it was only for 24 hours, but what struck me was the divide in generations and how the Facebook outage affected them.
If this was 10 or even 5 years ago, a shutdown of Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp would have the world in complete disarray. This was the longest social blackout that I can even think back to, yet, we were all surprisingly calm.
The last time I wrote or deliberated on the impact of social media, it was on how it can become a crutch in our lives. We relied on it and a blackout would mean completely rearranging how we spent our day and how we even organised our thoughts.
Social media became the way we control what we do and what we say.
I’ve found, now, from this, that we are covered on so many levels in how we communicate, that a blackout on several of the largest social platforms, was, essentially, uneventful.
Gen Z made light of the issue saying that they are already ahead of the game by only communicating via Tik Tok.
Millennials feel a sense of proud maturity as they brush of their Text Message app and (God forbid) make a phone call.
What happened is, that sense of control we felt from being active on social media, is not so much a crutch, but just a stable part of our lives. We’ve taken back control.
If when your usual route to work had a roadblock, when we would have panicked and sat waiting for the road to open up again, we now know several other roads to go down.
Social media is now part of our intuition.
That’s not to say that we have forgotten how to live and grow in the real world. Rather than lean on platforms for support, we are going along for the ride and using them to our advantage.