Sunday, August 3, 2014

Facebook Down

This past Friday Facebook conducted its largest underground emotional study ever, attempting to make everyone in the world angry at the same time. Mission accomplished, Facebook. The only time I could imagine seeing my wife more angry is if I came back from a physical and told her the doctor thought I had a good chance of living to be 150.

For those of you who may not have heard because you actually prefer eye contact or human touch, Facebook was down for about 20 minutes last Friday, and in those 20 minutes you'd think the digital apocalypse had hit. CNN flashed a poll shortly after the outage was discovered showing that 75% of the nation blamed President Obama, who was already on the phone with Mark Zuckerberg asking, "WTF, yo?" Zuckerberg said that he'd work on fixing the outage after he finished counting his money.


Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
People hit the "Refresh" button, in complete denial that
Facebook is down.
For that fleeting 20 minutes where people became uniformly obsessed, a surprisingly large percentage of people forgot they were intelligent and capable of forming thoughts and opinions, and regressed to a state of incontinence where they were also completely devoid of reason. It was as though their life was on pause. They just sat in front of the screen like a wind-up cymbal monkey hitting "Refresh, Refresh, Refresh, Refresh, Refresh" and waiting for something on their computer screen to change. Because in this 20-minute window, credible news websites were putting the Facebook crash ahead of the Ebola virus being flown back into the US (I heard the guys who were supposed to be flown back to the states said they rather take their chances staying in Africa than dealing with Atlanta traffic), #facebookdown flew to the top of Twitter, so many people were calling 911 and claiming that the Facebook crash was a police emergency that police had to issue a statement telling people that it was not a police emergency, old people in nursing homes were getting so angry they were dying in front of their computers, and John Boehner called on Sarah Palin to rally the Tea Party fanatics to drum up support for suing Mark Zuckerberg for not upholding his constitutional responsibility to keep Facebook running. I suspect Facebook being down was also responsible for the only 20 minutes of the attempted 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza. I imagine there were a bunch of people sitting around with machine guns and smartphones going, "I can't get on Facebook. Can you get on Facebook? F**king Obama."

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
Everything comes to a halt when Facebook goes down.
It made me wonder if the group who worked on the initial iteration of Healthcare.gov was now working on projects for Facebook and this was the first bit of work they'd pushed into production. I can imagine that conversation: "We've got a low-impact update with a high risk of failure. We feel like the best time to push it out is during the time of day when the absolute maximum number of people are on our site." This easily resulted in the largest Internet uprising I've seen since the Twitter outage a few years ago that caused the Twitter Fail Whale to surface for an extended period of time.

I suspect people got really cooked up when they looked up the cost of having a private eye tail people they didn't want to actually talk to in the real world and have him give them updates and pictures associated with what that person is doing; I understand that's rather expensive. Because part of Facebook's appeal is having a medium where you can see what's happening in other people's lives without ever having to talk to them in the real world, all the while exposing as much of your life as you want to that person. And when Facebook crashed, some people were faced with the challenge of figuring out how to communicate with someone they felt comfortable friending on Facebook but they didn't feel comfortable giving their phone number to.

I guess if you end of paying to have people tailed you could just send the bill to the White House with a note in the memo section that says, "Facebook down. F**kin' Obama."

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