In this day and age, everything revolves around social media. People are constantly on their phones from the minute they wake up until the moment they go to bed. Some may call this an addiction, but when everything happens online can you really blame us for being that dependent on social media?

On the 4th of October 2021, the unthinkable happened; Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went down for more than five hours which is now called the ‘great social media blackout of 2021’. For so many of us who rely heavily on social media and messaging sites to entertain ourselves and communicate with friends, family and work remotely, this blackout was something close to a nightmare.

With remote working and everything being managed through social media this phenomenon ruined the smooth running of many businesses for a whole day. This forced hiatus caused everyone to panic with communication being severed and deadlines being severely disrupted. Jobs in social media and marketing took an involuntary break with everything being down, which interfered with their daily work tasks leaving them in a frenzy. 

Dr Rachael Kent, lecturer in digital economy and society at King’s College London and founder of Dr Digital Health commented on the blackout’s effects on businesses. She said that “on the business front, there’s always going to be a lot of anxiety around not being able to manage and run your business effectively,” and continued to explain that “we live in an always-on, always-available culture that was immediately halted.”

The head of Whatsapp, William Cathcart, also took to Twitter to speak about the blackout where he said that “We know that people were unable to use @WhatsApp to connect with their friends, family, businesses, community groups, and more today — a humbling reminder of how much people and organizations rely on our app every day”.

This goes to show how important social media is nowadays for everything from communication to work, family etc. It plays a vital role in our daily lives and without it we feel incomplete. Especially now that everything’s online and people still work remotely we cannot manage if it’s not up and running.  

What are your thoughts on social media and what did you do when it went dark? Do you think we are addicted or do you think it’s part of our daily routine?