Implausible as it may have seemed at one point, this happened one fine evening and took the entire world by surprise. That evening our phones, our lifelines, suddenly became useless. The three things our lives depend on, namely What’s App, Facebook and Instagram, abandoned us. A glitch that led to Facebook vanishing from the internet was the reason. It was like a bolt from the blue, totally unexpected and unbelievable for a while. It was something that had never happened before, so it wasn’t easy to wrap one’s head around it. And whether we want to accept it or not, our world kind of stopped when this happened.
But did it really stop?
According to me, Yes, for a bit, the world did stop, but then…. it got back on its feet fairly quickly. When what you are so used to just vanishes, it is natural to feel a little stuck and helpless, but we humans have this remarkable trait. We may whine, moan, get upset when something takes us by surprise, but sooner rather than later, we accept, adjust and move on. That is precisely what happened to most of us that day. After the initial reaction of disbelief, helplessness and frustration, we accepted and found ways to deal with it. Since there was nothing to keep us glued to our phones, we started paying attention to other things around us.
And I feel this was like a sign from the universe, a wake-up call to stop being obsessed with phones and social media and focus on the world around us.
Though all three, that is, Facebook, Instagram, and What’s App are equally absorbing, I think What’s App is the most. It is something that takes a large chunk of our time during the day, leaving us with no time to do anything else. If we look around, we can see that most of us are glued to our phones, checking or responding to messages on their What’s App. It is like an obsession leaving no time for anything else. And whatever little is left gets taken by the other two.
And so when then this glitch stopped people in their tracks, it was as if life stopped. Suddenly we had nothing to do. And although we got busy with other things, to begin with, it wasn’t that easy. But I feel this disruption did a whole lot of good to us. It made us take a pause, think and reflect.
It made some of us look at ourselves, our lives and introspect.
Thus it is not how we dealt with that unexpected free time but about what it showed us. It was about what it revealed to us about who we have become, slaves to technology, slaves to social media.
It pointed out that we have allowed technology to run our lives, particularly our phones and all they offer us. Because ultimately, with all three being accessible on phones, we are stuck to them all day. We get so consumed that we don’t even look at other things or people around us. It is as though with phones in our hands, we don’t need anyone else.
To my mind, this incident was a nudge, a kind of a wake-up call urging us all to stop doing that. It was like a pointer telling us that there is life outside of a phone screen.
Yes, it is ok to be on social media and make connections, but we cannot lose sight of the other aspects of life. We cannot ignore other people, other things around us, which can add meaning and value to our lives ( more than phones!!)
We need to connect with others and connect with ourselves.
That evening threw light on other things we can do; interact with our families, read, cook, go for a walk or just sit and stare into space and spend time with ourselves.
It’s not like we don’t do these things, but they are all always at the mercy of the phone. So, if I am talking to my son, a What’s App pops on the phone. I instantly stop talking and click on the What’s App. And once I do that, I get hooked to the phone, forgetting all about the conversation.
Our lives have become such that we do everything else in the little bit of time which social media or these three platforms give us. We let them dictate our lives rather than it being the other way around.
We need to stop doing that. We have to give ourselves a break. We need to connect with people around us rather than those hundreds of miles away.
New technology, new things should supplement, complement the existing and not replace. That’s not the way to be and is not fair, not right
So like they say, a stitch in time saves nine. So this glitch, this stitch was just that. So people get unhooked from your phones and get a life.