Yesterday Twitter got a lot of action when Facebook and Instagram servers had outages for most of the day. Tweets were flying with the hashtag #FacebookDown. Normal functioning seems to have returned to both sites as of Thursday morning- so if you missed it, all is restored and fair-weather Twitter users have likely returned to their usual Facebook/Instagram activity!
However, I was struck during what news sources are calling Facebook’s “most epic outage yet”. It is no surprise that social media has become so integral into our days. As I worked on projects and client accounts I was aware of the role of social media in our daily, and maybe even hourly, business functioning.
There were a few noteworthy takeaways I had from yesterday’s events.
The critical role of social media in our culture.
It was interesting to note that with the lapse in service from Facebook and Instagram- Twitter rose to the top as society’s main communication source. News sources, google searches and email paled in comparison to the organic activity seen on this other social media outlet. Twitter got its time to shine for sure.
I was reminded afresh of the ways that our culture utilizes these platforms. They are much more than life updates from your “friends” and followers. Social media is a consumers’ news outlet, source of information, go-to for distributing and searching for details, means of rest and a hobby.
For better or for worse, it holds far more power than I often give it credit.
The importance of diversifying your communication streams.
For one client, I have been working on recruiting a group of “influencers” to participate in a campaign we are developing. For the most part, I had no way of contacting these individuals outside of social media. Our messages and conversations are stored entirely in Instagram DM’s. So when I needed to reference a conversation or detail we had discussed and was unable to login to that Instagram account, I was paralyzed.
That same client has an event upcoming this weekend. The promotion has occurred entirely through Facebook and Instagram. Yesterday we were dead in the water when we needed to provide updates and continue to recruit for the event.
I had pigeon-holed myself by focusing my marketing efforts solely through one communication stream. I learned my lesson!
As businesses it is better strategy to diversify. No one source is reliable, and everyone communicates differently! Putting all your eggs in one basket can hinder the effectiveness of your marketing. A comprehensive strategy includes using multiple mediums to communicate your message.
Intentionality of time.
When I got to my small group last night, one of my friends remarked “Thank God for the Instagram outage, honestly.” Person after person noted the ways they had spent their time with more intentionality when time spent on social media was restricted for them. It was a reminder that we often neglect the things that are more important to us simply because we have the options of distraction. We noted the ways that the outage was a gift for us and a simple thing that God used to show us different ways He may be calling us to use our time.
I don’t believe that social media is innately bad. It is useful, beneficial and enjoyable! However, I am grateful for the reminder to use it in moderation, plan my time spent using it, and assign its rightful priority in my life rather than allowing its rabbit trails to pull me away from what’s really important.
What creativity could be sparked, work/life balance could be found, other use of time could be explored that benefits your personal and work life if you assigned intentionality to your time spent on social media and otherwise?