COLUMN: It’s the end of the world as we know it

The event that caused panic and fear in so many was the horrifying fact that Facebook went down

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The end of the world is nigh!

Or, at least, it felt that way. No there were no locusts flying around, it didn’t rain blood or anything nearly so theatrical.

Four horseman did not come riding by, still it did feel like the end may be coming.

If you are thinking to yourself ‘Oh no, here comes another Covid-19 metaphor,’ well, think again.

Also, the end of the world has nothing to do with the federal election, Donald Trump or even global warming.

The event that caused panic and a look of fear in so many people’s eyes was far more damaging to their soul:

Facebook went down.

I know, it’s a hard burden to bear, but for nearly six hours in October, Facebook did not work.

Not only that, but the earth-shattering tragedy also took down the Instagram and WhatsApp platforms as well. And some people were freaking out.

For six agonizing hours, one-quarter of one day, we were no better than Neanderthals, staring blankly at our hands and grunting with no brain capacity to solve the mystery of why that little rectangular device wasn’t working.

Communication as we know it stopped.

How were we supposed to know our secret stripper name? (the colour of your shirt and the last thing you ate) – I’m almost always Black Potato Chip.

How were we supposed to know what our biggest anxiety is – based on the first thing you noticed on a picture or the first word you saw in a letter jumble?

How were we to find out what the top 10 horror movies to watch on Halloween are?

But the horror didn’t stop there.

My neighbour knocked on my front door holding a plate, when I asked why he said it was the only way he could show me what he was having for lunch. (OK, I stole that joke from someone else. I think I read it on Facebook!).

However, while much of the world was suffering from withdrawal symptoms, I seemed to be less lost or frightened.

I actually raised my head and looked other people in the eye. It was a strange perspective.

I spoke to my wife, and she spoke back, without any interruptions from Facebook notifications which are designed to end conversations and bring your eyes back down to your phone.

I also didn’t have to read one of those vague posts from a Facebook friend (everybody has one) that is a cry for attention. You know the ones. They post something short like “I’m sad” or “What a terrible day” and that’s it. No details, no explanation.

Then they wait as their friends comment with ‘What’s wrong” or “Do you want to talk” or even ‘Thinking of you” all in an attempt to garner attention.

The fact is, the brief Facebook blackout may have been a good thing. Personally, I realized that I didn’t really miss it.

As a journalist, I noticed feeling just a little bit better about myself. Six glorious hours of not having to monitor the comment section of the Mission Record.

Almost all of our readers make interesting, informative comments, but that little percentage does get to you in the end.

I didn’t have to read the words “Fake News” just because the story didn’t reflect someone else’s personal beliefs, or be called a variety of names due to a typo (yes I do make typos).

The fact is, since Covid has continued into it’s second year, there has been a lot of tension creeping up on Facebook. People are angry and upset, on both sides of the vaccine debate.

I’ve watched as heated arguments have continued to play out on Facebook, which I believe was originally created to build community and bring the world closer together.

Maybe it wasn’t the end of the world after all.

Maybe a six hour blackout was a good thing.

Maybe it should have been longer.

– Kevin Mills is the editor

of the Mission Record