Six hours of Freedom! Or was it?
Social media is a powerful tool. It’s used by individuals and businesses alike to grow their networks, connect with new people, share…
Social media is a powerful tool. It’s used by individuals and businesses alike to grow their networks, connect with new people, share information, build brands, and more. Yesterday Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all offline for around six hours! As I’m sure, you are aware unless you’re living on a deserted island. The outage caused chaos among many users who are so dependent on these apps that they couldn’t function without them. Some people felt like they were missing out and that there was something wrong with their lives because the “tools” (social media platforms) of communication and connection weren’t readily available.
I get why people feel this way, but we do not have to use these tools all the time! We can always turn our phones off or ignore someone when they text us if we don’t want to engage at a given point in time. Sadly, we seem so unwilling to take responsibility for ourselves by blaming social platforms instead of taking control of our own actions/lives. I am probably not the only one thinking this way. Am I?
Up until recently, I was also “guilty” of being too dependent on social platforms. I wasn’t taking much time to reflect and engage in meaningful activities. I then realized that these platforms were not the cause of this but rather a symptom! It’s up to us as individuals to take responsibility for our lives and do what we want instead of waiting until someone else does it for us (i.e., social media).
Daily, I try to limit my usage of social media or, at the very least, be more aware of why I am using them when there are other things I could be doing with my time. My phone is turned off at every meal. Yes! At every meal, my phone is shut off. When I’m playing with my kids, the smartphone is likewise not invited. Another thing I do that might be annoying to some of my friends because I don’t respond immediately. I decided some time ago that these communication tools will be at my service, not the other way around.
I was undoubtedly uncomfortable yesterday as I had to employ alternative methods of communication. I felt compelled to text and send SMS like when we were in the dark ages. I didn’t experience the same sense of liberation that others have reported tough.
Freedom does not come from the fact that social media platforms are down. It doesn’t! There may be a bigger problem if you believe it does. We are not enslaved by technology, but we need to be aware of how it controls us. Or better, we need to recognize how our “need” for it controls us.
Independence comes from the decision to disengage, not by experiencing a momentary feeling of Freedom because something is “offline.” Not answering your phone or shutting down social media sites should be done out of choice, not a necessity. With that being said, I think it’s essential for us all to take some time away from our technology.
People described yesterday’s event as a sense of Freedom, but it probably had more to do with the fact that they didn’t have any choice, not because people are free from technology. So, does that mean that we are enslaved to social platforms? Some people might say that we are. I don’t think. Slavery has to do with the demolition of choice. There might be some situations where that might happen, but I believe we always choose our use of technology and social media.
If we fear losing something, are we free from it? How can we train ourselves not to depend on technology so much? What do you think? Will we ever see an end to dependency on technology? Is it even possible?
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