I thought I would let that one go but it has been haunting my mind since I heard about it. On Tuesday there was an internet outage for a few hours, that stalled business for many world popular online sites which are hosted on the Amazon web servers, something that I didn’t know was the case in the first place.
Yes, I understand that this kind of thing can happen but what was curious and you can read here as well, Business Insider-Amazon s3 outage, is that the outage was not country-wide nor sector-wide. It was a peculiar situation caused by one of the biggest hosting hubs located in Norther Virginia. And no, I am not thinking about conspiracy theory but about the following points:
Internet is not something infallible, meaning that objectively it can go away any day. There are already other countries that do not allow the use of internet, or have control and limits as to what can be accessed on it.
So where does this leave those of us who may be relying entirely on it for our business?
It seems to be another one of those things that we take for granted and think it will be there forever but what if it is not? I am not questioning this from the doomsday point of view but from the relationship and community-building point-of-view. There is a difference.
If you go to Europe, primarily to Southern Europe even though I have experienced the same in UK and Ireland, people for the most part do not rely on the internet to build their relationships and connect with others. They go out to pubs, to cafes, to public squares and hang out. This is not part of the US culture, and is one of the reasons why social media took off and seemingly fulfilled people’s’ emotional need for connection.
I do like social media. I do like being able to get on Facebook and see what my friends are doing overseas or across US. I do like being able to teach and mentor via skype. I do like being able to consult and sell my books online. Yet, it is not a substitute for actual human contact and community building. At least not at its essence even though this seems to be its purpose.
I may also add that the downside of focusing so much on the global scene is that it distracts us from what is in front of our eyes and in our communities. If people had to get out there, instead of staying home all day in front of their computer or tablet, and interact face-to-face with others, how would that change the relationships and sustainability of each community?
If people were sitting at cafes without staring on their phones the entire time, how would this impact connection, meaningful conversation and mental stimulation? And how would that in turn affect personal relationships and shared values such as respect, appreciation, honesty?
This is not a hypothetical scenario. Many people in countries outside US still engage face-to-face and unfortunately because they want to copy what the big guys are doing, they are incorporating more and more these online tools.
I know that if I ask the question “What would you do if internet was to go away or if there were limitations as to what you can access via it,” people will get depressed.
I know it would be very challenging for me because I am so used to its practicality and easiness. But, I want for a moment to look at it from a different perspective and invite you to reflect on what are the things you, as an individual, can do to expand who you are and your reach to others, outside the internet.
I propose that you look in your lifestyle and consider what would be other ways to relate, which even if scary and unknown, could be a possibility. What if there was no online dating, for example? In many countries this is truly a weird concept, i.e. going online to find your mate.
I don’t have the answers yet but it is food for thought 🙂