The seven-hour outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on October 4 shouldn’t really be a big deal. But for atechbook editorial director Andreas Filbig (35) it was. Do you perhaps feel the same way? Does technology determine our lives too much?
Are we all social media addicts? Clearly, no. Am I? I think so, at least somewhat. And I’m probably not alone in that. The breakdown of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook made that more than clear to me. Especially at the end of the day, when things usually really get going, an extremely oppressive feeling. I would like to briefly explain how I experienced the outage evening and what I learned from it.
Communication limited to the inner circle
When half an hour before closing time suddenly nothing went – in my case Instagram and WhatsApp – I was honestly a little perplexed. I still had a few conversations open that I actually wanted to take care of on the way home. Nothing of the utmost importance, small talk that is.
I spend an average of 2:40 hours a day on Instagram, plus about an hour on WhatsApp. I definitely have the most contact with people via Instagram. It’s less complicated, offers more points of contact to start conversations, and you can also get in touch with strangers there. So what bothered me about Instagram’s failure was not so much that I can’t see new pictures and Stories, but mainly that a large part of my communication has fallen away.
Read about it at our colleagues from FITBOOK.de: 10 days without social media – “I’m more dependent than I thought”.
Then only the phone remains
I exchange voice messages with friends via WhatsApp, especially on the way home. I use the messenger for about an hour a day. I don’t make any phone calls at this time of day. There’s simply not enough time for that when everyone is on their way home, shopping or still at the office. But after WhatsApp stopped working and I felt the need to communicate, I still had the phone.
My friends, as mentioned, were not really an option. So I ended up calling my family. Actually also nice to take time for it I thought. Although my mother also uses the affected services on a daily basis, she wasn’t too impressed with the outage. She didn’t really care. She was even happy about it, so at least we found time to talk on the phone. That gave me something to think about. Later that evening, I also talked to my best friend on the phone.
Because of social media, we lose focus on what really matters
When my main means of communication dropped out, I realized I was focusing on the people who matter. Meeting new people, solidifying more fleeting acquaintances and thus building friendships is important, too. But you shouldn’t give it more space or time than the most important people around you.
It may be a phenomenon of our time to always want to focus on new people because it’s exciting. Whether friendships or dating, the wheel turns faster and faster, one’s attention shifts to more and more people. The inevitable result is that everyone ends up missing out.
How exactly do Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat & Co. influence our understanding of beauty? Find out in the “STYLEBOOK Beauty Impact Report 2021”!
A problem without a solution
So what’s a person to do? Limit screen time or consciously detox? All options that won’t work, at least for me. If only because I don’t want it to. The outage doesn’t change anything in the end, at least for me. Nevertheless, it was an eye-opener. The positive effects that occur after seven hours would probably be gone after seven days. When I’m not on vacation, but in everyday life, Instagram and WhatsApp are simply part of it. Depending on personal preference, it could also be Twitter and Telegram. In my case, I’m convinced that I can’t do without Instagram and WhatsApp at the moment!