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I refreshed a few times before calling over the wall of my office, “Is your internet working?”

The Liberty Park Facebook post would have to wait. I pivoted and published the news article to LinkedIn in the adjacent tab. Then, the lightbulb clicked as I typed into my browser, “Facebook dow…”

Sure enough, a Facebook and Instagram systemwide outage had ensued, spurring rumors of a potential connection to the Facebook Whistleblower segment on “60 Minutes” that my husband and I happened to catch over dinner Sunday night. Despite the reasoning or rationale for Monday’s continued eight-hour period of #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown – feeds that, funny enough, could only be tracked in real-time through Twitter – the platforms were frozen. Useless.

I felt a void throughout the day, finding myself in an almost subconscious state of a failed, recurring refresh.

Suddenly, we couldn’t click or swipe to receive a new stream of content within a millisecond – a photo, article, life update, or factoid (that we’d have to then fact check).

However, as it turns out, a refresh did occur – a mental one.

We all wear two hats in the social media paradigm: we create and we consume. We’ve undeniably become dependent upon that balancing act. Personally, I depend on it for not only my personal entertainment but also my professional livelihood.

Facebook and Instagram have handed each of us the power to be creators of content, whether in the form of family updates or weekend happenings to a close network; or news articles and special announcements to a widespread audience. My blog Caramelized’s content calendar for Monday was a fall dessert recipe – it could wait, of course, but what about the tragic local news shooting? Or the latest COVID update?

What did Monday’s refresh teach us? Well, it taught me that we do have a perspective despite our keyboard not processing “publish now.” It taught me that we do have an audience outside of that number of Facebook friends or Instagram followers. It taught me that “share” takes forms other than to a faceless forum of acquaintances and, sometimes, strangers. It taught me that going to the sources – to that friend, that news outlet’s homepage, or that place of business, could be much more fulfilling than a repost on a social media feed.

Don’t get me wrong: I am relieved Facebook and Instagram are back; but I am glad I was forced to look up and recognize that we have more to consume and more to offer than the parameters of an Instagram square or caption field.


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