If you were wondering why your day felt a bit more pacific than others, you have your answer. Facebook's algorithms have been quieted. Your phone is no longer buzzing to alert you to some new outrage for you to be outraged about.
That's actually how I noticed that Facebook was down. I spent a couple of hours this morning writing and updating some data I keep tabs on to inform my writing and noticed I hadn't been interrupted for a while.
It felt kind of wonderful.
Wouldn't it be great if Facebook never came back online? If your crazy uncle's racist rants had no platform anymore? If the anti-vaxxers had to find some new venue in which to harass people? If the left- and right-wing extremists had no larger audience than whoever might be in their proximity?
I know, I know.
If Facebook went away, some new platform would take its place.
But dream with me for a moment.
What if it all went away?
Can you imagine it?
I've been trying to think of a downside, and I can't.
I really can't.
There would need to be some economic adjustments. There are businesses that have come to depend on Facebook for their revenue. But what sort of businesses are those, really? Multi-level marketing schemes? Sensationalist click farms?
Do we care if those enterprises run aground?
If social media went away, most of us would make a few adjustments in the way we socialize and keep up on the news, and life would carry on.
Social media isn't going away, of course. Facebook isn't gone; it's just suffering an extraordinary outage. And even if it were gone, that wouldn't be the end of things. To modify a Medgar Evers quote, you can kill a social media company, but you can't kill an idea.
But hasn't today been lovely with the scourge of Facebook abated, even just for a while?
Perhaps it's a recommendation for the future. Every once in a while, turn off social media. Delete the app or silence the notifications. See how it feels to live in the real world, and not the digital terrarium Mark Zuckerberg and company have built for us.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.