The Great Blackout of 2021

Yesterday there was a global panic. Not because a new virus had emerged. But because Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went down.

The memes have been awesome as you can imagine, but it does raise some questions about the general level of addiction to social media the world has.

I am one of those people – to a point.

I discovered nothing was working when I was mindlessly scrolling during a rather boring section of the TV show I was trying to watch. It was rather irritating as a new post had not long gone up from an artist I quite like, showcasing some new work. I checked a couple of times and then went onto to Twitter to see what was going on… along with the rest of the world!

But that was the end of my thoughts on it. I figured I would know when everything was working again as some notifications would come through. I switched over to iMessage to finish the conversations I was half way through and carried on watching my show.

(Android need to work on a messaging platform asap because their users were having to SMS!)

That was the sum total of my irritation though. I checked back a few times unintentionally because I mindlessly picked up my phone to scroll. That worries me though. How much time do I spend just going through social media feeds because I have nothing else to do. It’s something I am going to keep and eye on going forward. It’s not a great habit to have.

What does worry me much more is how many people I have overhead or posts I have seen with people genuinely at a loss because they weren’t working. How bad must their addiction and screen time be?!

The TV and internet were still up. There are still books in the world to read or listen to. There is still exercise to do. There is cleaning and cooking at a real stretch! I don’t recommend those really though. That’s too much like adulting.

I don’t really have a point to this post aside from to share my horror about how upset people were with a 6hr outage. I don’t understand it. Maybe if your entire business and customer base was on social media but surely you would have other contact details available to you? If not, probably a good time to start setting them up really!

I do have a few things I want to do going forward though and I wanted to share them with you in case you have discovered some negative habits forming with the apps.

Firstly, that annoying little ‘screen time’ message that Apple sends weekly? I’m going to actually read it and identify where most of my screen time goes to. Now, I know mine is particularly high as not only are my socials on there, but my work email is too. Additionally I do run the marketing side of a new start up from my phone and do everything from designing the posts (thank you, Canva!) to analytics. That is a lot of time some days but I’m sure that will be identifiable against the brainless activity.

Secondly, instead of scrolling through my phone on the way to/from work, I am going to get further into audio books. I am currently listening to The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, which is utterly divine! I am actually looking forward to spending more time with the characters.

Not only that, instead of coming home and turning on the tv for background noise while I do the laundry or the cooking, I could really continue to listen to the audio books. Or podcasts. I have so many lined up ready to go that it’s kind of silly I haven’t done this before.

Whilst I recognise that audio books are still reliant on my phone, it’s a change because it isn’t looking at the screen for more than opening the app and pressing play. I have no objection to using the apps for stuff like this. I just don’t want to be a zombie looking at it continually.

As for off the phone activities, and preferably ones that don’t involve me binge watching and entire tv series in one sitting… book reading! I was just sent 4 new books this week and I am looking forward to starting them. I also have a mini-book club going with my neighbour and need to read the current one before she picks the next. Plus I have secondary book club which we will need to read a book for soon. Thankfully that’s only quarterly or I wouldn’t have time!

I did try knitting for a while and have promised my niece a scarf for christmas. Given my limited skills, that is going to take a while so I probably should get started on that too.

Finally, and on a screen of another type but not social media, I have to take my theory test for my drivers licence which requires a million hours of online tutorials, and I also have this blog which I am finding very therapeutic writing again.

So there is plenty to keep me going and that’s even before I think about the current state of my closet and apartment in general as they could do with a good tidy up!

What about you? Or did the outage bother you even less than it did me?!

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