Posted in A Moment in My Life

“The Day FB Went Dark”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

What were you doing the day FB went dark? That’s the similar question everybody asked forever after the big earthquake that shook San Francisco in 1989. For me, I was sitting right here writing when I decided to go into FB and change my cover photo at just past 9 a.m. Only to receive a “failure to open the page” notice. Who would’ve thought FB was down? I figured it was on my end. I rebooted my modem, which didn’t help. So, I hard booted my MacBook, which also didn’t help. Oops, don’t tell me, my verbal posts caught up with FB administrators, and they threw me into FB prison! That was my first thought. I Messengered my buddy, Big Bro, at about 9:30 and asked if he was having trouble. That message looked weird and didn’t appear to get sent, so I texted him ten minutes later. He called and said he wasn’t having trouble, but he couldn’t open my page. Ugh. Yep, I knew it. I was tossed into FB prison. It was a big maybe. Another possibility was that my profile got corrupted somehow, which stressed me out more.

What if FB couldn’t restore my profile? I would have to open a new account. Ugh. All that history since 2008 in this one account—poof just like that. I began kicking myself for not having taken copies of all my photos and archived them nice and neatly as the FB memories do. FB spoiled me rotten, and it got me relying on and trusting it for these daily memories. I swore I’d begin collecting all the everyday memories into File Manager if I got back into my account. 

The second layer of panic—my list of friends! I’ve got 626 FB friends. How in the world am I going to recreate that friend list? I have no clue who the 626 friends are. That’s the stupid thing about FB that I dislike. It decides which 25 friends I get to interact with. I have a love/hate relationship with FB. If it comes to that, I will do the best I can to recreate my list. The good news is that if you’ve been active in my FB world, I’ll know you and send you a friend request. As for the others who never make an appearance, I’m sorry, but I might not know who you are to send you a friend request. I don’t like losing people, so know that it wouldn’t be on purpose.

A moment later, Big Bro called, saying that it wasn’t just me. It looked like it was a FB problem. Phew! What a huge relief! I could live with that. After we hung up, I googled for news, and that’s when I learned about the system-wide lockout between FB, Instagram, Messenger, and What’s App! That was awful news, but it felt good knowing I wasn’t in FB prison. Self-center, I know, but hey, I can’t worry about everybody else, and someone has to worry about me, so I guess I’m the best candidate for the job. 

Knowing that there was nothing I could do with FB, I resolved to get as productive as possible in my real-world before FB came back online. Isn’t it hilarious how much we rely on FB? It’s absurd if you think about it. FB has become such a big deal in my life that it feels like I’m reporting in to work each day. When I was a moderator for a FB group, it felt like reporting to work, except it wasn’t a seven-day workweek with a job. I’m slowly catching my breath now that I recently quit that role.

I honestly have a love/hate relationship with FB. FB has been a Godsend, especially during the isolation period of the pandemic. I admit FB has seen me through the dark times after my hubby’s demise. I am grateful for all of my daily FB connections that eradicated my aloneness. However, on the same token, when you’re in your writing zone, FB can be a big pain in the butt with all the alert notifications coming through all day and all night long. Not only FB but Messenger, well text, too, for that matter, especially group chats—those are the most distracting. I’ve yet to learn how to turn off alerts without acquiring yet another app that turns everything off for me. I’ve gotten into the habit of ignoring the alerts during my “zone time,” but I get dozens of alerts when I return to FB, which is overwhelming. Yes, it’s wonderful having all those interactions, but let’s say, every good thing has a downside. 

The day FB was down, I have to say that I didn’t miss it at all. It was super quiet, though, and for one day, that was great, but I know I wouldn’t want that much quiet every single day. I would miss my FB buddies and my favorite groups and all the lovely interactions I have with my peeps. Also, I would die if I had no place to share my skyscape photos and fun times. But, for the one day, I loved feeling like I was living my life in the flesh again. Many people posted funnies after FB came back online about living in the real world again, but it’s so true what a difference it made not having FB. I got a lot done without guilt. See, with FB, especially when I was moderator, I felt guilty if I stayed out of FB longer than an hour. I conditioned myself to be a good team player, just like on the job, and for this one day, it felt wonderful and freeing and guiltless to live my life again. I usually found myself constantly checking for FB alerts. Crazy, right? It’s that love/hate thing I mentioned. It just became something I habitually do. I do it because if I check more often, there are fewer alerts, which is less overwhelming to catch up on than a dozen or more alerts at a time. 

I wouldn’t ever want FB to be down again. I would much rather decide to quit FB than for it to lock me out. However, taking a day off from FB without missing anything was like a Hallmark movie where we got to experience our life without FB in it for a day. I regained access to FB just after 3 p.m., but my East Coast and England peeps didn’t get their FB back until hours later. The lesson I learned from the FB Day-off was that I liked living my real life without distractions, but I don’t want to lose everything and everyone from my FB world. I am super grateful that I didn’t lose my FB account, and now that I’ve had a taste of life pre-FB, I can make accommodations to co-exist in both worlds and make it work for me. I don’t think I would’ve arrived at this positive conclusion had I not experienced life without FB in it. For me, it was a blessing in disguise the day FB went dark.

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