The Good and the Bad of Social Media
So yesterday was an interesting day. Facebook and Instagram, my two most used social media sites, both crashed and were down for hours. No, I do not sit on those sites all day, I have a job and work to do. Ironically, my work actually uses Facebook for quite a bit though, we use it as a way to notify the public of different things. Yes, we have a website for that as well, but Facebook is instantaneous and reaches people very quickly, but I’ll get to more about that in a minute.
Anyway, I do use FB and Instagram on breaks and things like that so it was a little frustrating to not have either available for most of the day. And so, I did what I’m sure a number of other people did and took to Twitter to look for news and some connection. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter but that’s a post for another day. Yesterday I found myself getting very frustrated on Twitter. There was a lot of speculation about the timing of the Facebook crash and the Whistleblower interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. Many were saying that this was possibly the end of Facebook as know it and Facebook and Instagram may be gone forever. And I started to get a little panicky.
I know, I know. First rule of the internet is you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I knew realistically that they’d eventually get the sites back up and running, but there was definitely this voice in the back of my head that said “but what if they don’t?” I started reading posts on Twitter and actually from some people I know saying that they’d be happy if Facebook and Instagram went away forever. And the more I read stuff like that the more shallow and gross I felt, because I felt the exact opposite way. I couldn’t imagine those sites going away forever and I don’t want to live without them.
Here is the thing – I absolutely, 100 percent know that Facebook is problematic. I know that the things the woman said in the 60 Minutes interview are true and horrible. But, for me, I see Facebook as a necessary evil. And actually for me, most of the time, it’s not even that evil. I use it for good. For example, my mom has a large family, we are all spread out and living lives and do not get together as much as we did when I was growing up. But, I’m Facebook friends with most of my aunts, uncles and cousins and it’s a great way to stay connected and be a part of each others lives. As I mentioned above, Facebook is one of the many tools we use at work to connect with our community. Many people I know rely on Facebook to help with their online businesses – and no, it’s not just MLM style businesses either.
And then there is Instagram. Oh my love. Instagram is my favorite app, it’s my creative outlet, but even more than that, I have made friends and connections on Instagram that I hold very dear to my heart. And shame on me for not finding other ways to stay connected with these folks before now, but when the very real possibility crossed my mind yesterday that if Instagram went away forever I’d never be able to talk to some of these people again, I got very, very sad.
So anyway, sorry not sorry but I am not ready to lose Facebook and Instagram yet. They are just both too big a part of my life. That being said, I did title this post the good and BAD of social media. I do agree that social media can be bad as well – let’s see online bullying, political garbage, body shaming, comparision game, and so much more. Facebook as a company is very problematic for sure and I do believe those issues need to be addressed and fixed. I do not think Mark Zuckerberg is a good person. But I also do not think Jeff Bezos is a good person and yet I haven’t managed to fully give up Amazon yet.
I’m glad that they were able to fix the outages yesterday and the day definitely did give me a lot to think about, but at the end of the day, I’m going to continue using social media as I have been. I try to be the GOOD of the good part of social media and I will continue doing that. I might get some contingency plans in place though in case the next outage is the big one. It can’t hurt anyway.