Tech & The Web

Nothing Like a Social Media Outage to Cause Anxiety

A building with a Meta logoDeposit Photos

How dependent are you on your social networks? You can quickly find the answer to that question during a social media outage!

People were minding their own business Tuesday morning when a funny thing happened. Suddenly, they found themselves logged out of Facebook. When they attempted to log back in, they realized they were in the grips of a social media outage.

Meta reported the outage affected Instagram as well. Interestingly enough, various media reports referred to those two platforms. But WhatsApp, Messenger and Threads, Meta’s newest platform, were also affected. Maybe it’s odd that it took people a while to realize Threads was also affected.

Then again, it is new…so Facebook and Instagram certainly have the larger user totals.

The website DownDetector showed Facebook users reporting an outage that began at around 10 a.m. The outage appeared to be over by around noon, but more than 600,000 users reported problems to the site. At about the same time, nearly 100,000 Instagram users reported an outage on that site. The other Meta apps also saw outages reported during the same timeframe, although in much smaller numbers.

Meta posted a message to its users on X, formerly Twitter. Ironic.

“We know some people were having trouble accessing our apps earlier,” the post stated. “Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused, and thank you for your patience while our teams worked quickly to resolve!”

Meta blamed the outage on — hold onto your hat — a “technical issue.” Well, thanks for that clue, Meta. We all at least figured out that much.

A social media outage should make you think twice about its importance

Part of my real job includes social media. But when there’s an outage, there’s not much I can do other than monitor and keep programming content as best I can. The content during that “technical issue” still appeared to be going through, which made it seem likely it was going to be there when the service came back up.

That was something to look forward to.

Facebook, probably the oldest of the social networks still in widespread use, launched 20 years ago. So there’s a generation of users — Generation Alpha — which never knew life without social media of some type. When some of the major players in social media are suddenly offline, I wonder how they react.

Sure, Generation Alpha’s preference probably isn’t Facebook. I’m sure their platform of choice is probably something like TikTok. But social media has become so ingrained for some people that I can easily imagine those who like to call themselves “influencers” running around in a panic attack.

After a 2021 outage, Forbes addressed influencers and businesses who put all their eggs in the social media basket for reaching customers and selling their wares:

This outage truly wreaked havoc on many people’s business lives and revealed the risk associated with relying on a network that your business doesn’t control.

I’ve discussed the dangers of relying on social media platforms for what some like to call “microblogging.” If you don’t control your own domain, you’re at the mercy of technical problems on someone else’s network.

If you don’t have a business that depends on it, even to a smaller degree, consider yourself fortunate. At worst, you’re (temporarily) cut off from your circle. If you’re smart, you’ve assembled non-social media contact information for the people closest to you.

Heaven forbid, you could even read a book for a while.

But if you feel a genuine loss that isn’t job-related during a social media outage, rethink things. Reconnect with people close to you in the old-fashioned ways. Younger generations seem to hate making a telephone call. Maybe it’s time we bring that back.

If you’re an influencer and you feel the cold sweat during an outage, maybe it’s time to look at building up your own website. That way, the next one won’t paralyze you.

Good luck with that!

Did the social media outage cause you any stress or did you enjoy the ‘break?’

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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