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Jeff - croppedFacebook was broken yesterday and I didn’t care. Blasphemy for sure, coming from someone who lives and breathes social media, who feels anxious when there’s no WiFi…someone who does this for a living. Let me clarify.

Yes, when millions of users got to work on Monday morning and began checking their Facebook, something strange happened. It didn’t work. No, this isn’t the first time Facebook has been down, however this outage was particularly frustrating, as users could view ‘old’ stories, they just couldn’t ‘like’ them or post a new status of their own.

With the largest social network in the world, a crucial piece of my livelihood, not functioning, I made an attempt to catch up on other things. It was a nice break, and for an hour or so I didn’t mind that Facebook was down. This reaction made me a bit uneasy.

Facebook_logo_(square)Then something happened; I wanted to post something, I wanted to like one of my friend’s posts, and I couldn’t — therein lies the power of Facebook. This ‘power’ is not of a particular social network necessarily, it’s in the power of connection. Facebook happens to have the most connections, but ultimately it’s about connection to other humans. This feeling applies now to Twitter, Instagram, etc. and it will apply to social networks of the future.

I enjoyed the break, as one enjoys a break from M&Ms after Halloween, as one enjoys a break from family after a week’s vacation. The need for a break does not indicate a failure or weakness, rather it indicates just how enmeshed social networks have become in our lives, how much we rely on them to stay in touch, and in a strange new way, how we feel closer. Turns out, the break was only enjoyable until it quickly became inconvenient and annoying. I missed Facebook.

I do not take this run of emotions lightly, for I recognize, appreciate, and and am in awe of this new way we communicate, this new way we share. It will always be about connection – it will always be about sharing your story or listening to someone else’s. Make sure you’re doing one of those things.

Jeff Howland

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