If I’m being honest here, I expected to procrastinate until the last minute to write this text and was somehow pleasantly surprised with what happened on October 4th, 2021, aka the day I’m writing this.
Facebook and its family of apps were out of service for several hours during this cold and boring Monday and this event was just another proof of how dependent on media we became. As soon as both the apps and the websites crashed pretty much all media users, I included, started migrating to other platforms to communicate with one another just to realize it was not their poor Wi-Fi router blame that Zuckerberg networks stopped giving us several new content within every 30 seconds.
This event, that would be practicably impossible to explain to someone born before 1930, was responsible for almost a 10% increase on the worldwide search for the term “WhatsApp” on Google in less than one hour, according to Google Trends. This fact alone already shows in a pretty explicit way how people reacted to this “media crash”, but if more evidence is needed just open twitter and search for the hashtag #InternetShutdown, the memes are really funny so I would personally recommend.
This whole situation gave me time to focus on my studies and I started reflecting on my relationship with media. Being an average teenager, I constantly use media and confess that even thought I promise myself I will spend less time on my phone every Monday after I get THAT notification from Settings on my Screen Time, the cycle repeats itself every week. Besides that, by being an international student, I spend at least two hours a day just talking to my family and friends via absolutely all platforms we can.
As obvious as it is when I saw nothing was working and had the exact same realization as millions that it was not a Wi-Fi problem, my first thought was: “When and how will I be able to talk to them again?”. However, this was followed by the insensitive thought that I would finally get some rest from all notifications and guilt trip of not wanting to call my mom or reply to the 20th TikTok video my best friend sent me in the meantime of one and a half hour.
I am of course grateful that I do not need to wait weeks to hear back from people living in Brazil and I absolutely love scrolling through Instagram for hours, even knowing all the disadvantages of doing so, but at the same time a break from this side of media felt great. I continued using media for the hours those networks were still inactive, but just the fact that I was not writing an e-mail while answering my dad about how to buy something off of amazon and shedding a tear while listening to Taylor Swift was already a great start to get some rest.
Opening twitter and seeing people mad at Zuckerberg and at the same time freaking out because they use these platforms to work generates a weird feeling, to say the least, building perspective once again to how much of an influence media has on all of us.
Coincidentally, as I finish writing this text at around midnight thirty, I just got a notification from a group chat on WhatsApp, meaning all other platforms are probably functioning normally again. I guess we will not need to do all greetings and have one more reason to feel like Truman that soon after all.
Olivia Helena Lucchesi