Friday, August 01, 2014

#FacebookDown ... and the world holds its breath

The big news in tech today really shouldn't be news at all. Facebook suffered an outage. Not a complete meltdown, mind you. More like an intermittent, inconsistent thing, where you'd try to post a status update, and it would fail. Five minutes later, though, it would work just fine. Some folks didn't even notice it at all.

The rest of the world, however, noticed it. And they took to social media - Twitter, natch - to share their deep disappointment that Facebook had somehow let them down. #FacebookDown was a trending topic for a while, and as I write this it's still way up there.

My $0.02: It's a freaking free service, people, so kindly get a grip. Do not call 911 looking for help. Do not complain bitterly to your friends. Do not slam your keyboard repeatedly in the modern-era equivalent of ripping your clothes like someone in mourning. Do not blame Facebook for ruining your life.

Because if a simple outage bothers you to that degree, you might want to reconsider your relationship to a service that most of us have only been using for a few years. You lived nicely without Facebook in 2003, and you'll live nicely without it today, as well.

Facebook doesn't owe its users much of anything. We voluntarily sign up to use it, and we don't pay for the privilege. When it has the occasional, inevitable hiccup - just like Twitter, Google and lesser lights have experienced in the not-too-distant past - this should serve as a reminder that placing that much weight on a blue-tinged social media service is more than a little ridiculous, and going off-grid every once in a while might be good for the soul.

There, I feel better.


Dan Brown said...

Do you think this will lead to more rumours about FB offering a pay version of its service?

Carmi Levy said...

Good question, Dan, but I doubt those rumours will ever go anywhere. While many web services companies offer higher-spec paid versions of their typically free services - example, Google - I don't see such an arrangement flying for social media outfits like Facebook.

It's one thing to offer business users a higher tier of storage or access - a la corporate Gmail and Google Apps - but social media is a different beast. Lots of rumours out there in Facebookland, but little evidence that the company would ever introduce something along those lines. Its model was, is and always will be largely advertising-based. Subscriptions aren't in FB's DNA.

rashbre said...

I hadn't noticed the outage, but I probably only glance at FB occasionally in any case.

I'm guessing that the Price/Earnings to Growth of Facebook will eventually catch up with it and we'll see it dive. Buying up competitors (e.g. Whatsapp) at premium prices seems a strangely defensive bizdev strategy.

Google and Amazon seem somehow more intelligent with their more diverse moves, even if one doesn't always agree with what is happening to the social market space.