On Monday Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down for six hours. Maybe you are thinking, “Ugh, I know! It messed up my day!” Or maybe you are thinking, “What’s WhatsApp?” Either way, you may have seen the headlines. It ends up that an update to Facebook’s routers that coordinate their network traffic went wrong (whatever that actually means). This sent waves of disruption throughout their whole system.* This outage cost Facebook tens of millions of dollars and affected lots of companies who use Facebook to connect with their customers and sell their wares. Not to mention folks who use social media to share photos, videos, and updates with family and friends.
Like many people, I have mixed feelings about social media. I’m an Old Millennial and have been on Facebook since college. Back in the day, you had to register an account with an .edu email address, so it was just a bunch of college kids on there! Some days I want to delete my Facebook account entirely and just stay on Instagram, which I personally find to be a much happier place! All of these platforms can help us stay connected. Though in other ways, they can lead to feelings of isolation. There’s been plenty of studies on the affects that social media has on people. Sometimes it can trigger comparing ourselves to others, raising doubts about our own self-worth. Sometimes it can make anxiety and depression worse, not better. But then again, look at how using Facebook Live has helped our congregation (and so many other faith communities) stay connected during the pandemic!
What’s the role that social media plays in your life? Do you find it uplifting, annoying, anything in between?
When you log onto any of these platforms, how do you feel? Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone on social media, or do you feel yourself wanting to?
It was the writer Annie Dillard who once reflected that “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Maybe this week will make us consider how we spend our days and the ways that we can use technology to build and uplift, not tear one another (or ourselves) down.
*Jonathan Franklin, “Why Facebook and Instagram went down for hours on Monday,” October 5, 2021, NPR, https://www.npr.org/2021/10/05/1043211171/facebook-instagram-whatsapp-outage-business-impact
Thursday Thoughts 10/7/21