The Evening the Earth Stood Still

The global breakdown of Facebook, WhatsApp & Co gave us time to deal with genuinely important things again

Photo: Shutterstock

I hope you got through yesterday’s long shutdown of Facebook and especially, for us in Israel, WhatsApp, which forced us to suddenly communicate differently. We could only talk to the people around us! We were on our own! It was a strange feeling at first. How can it be that I will no longer receive casual updates from my old schoolmate living in the USA about how she’s getting on with her new cat? Or through which forest another friend is currently riding his new bike? How is my sister doing in England? What are you arguing about on the Facebook page of my hometown Oldenburg? What are Israel Today readers saying about our articles?

I repeatedly checked my phone, but it was hopeless. I was isolated from the rest of the world. A digital lockdown, if you will. Of course, there was still the rest of the internet, but all anyone there seemed to be doing was reporting on how Facebook had crashed. It was a dramatic evening.

But was it really all that dramatic? I am of course exaggerating above, even if there is some truth to it. While I admit that at first it was strange and even worrying, we were of course not really isolated. We sat in the living room with our daughter and finally had time to talk to each other again. We even took a nice walk in our garden, where we told our daughter about the “good old days,” when we could still cope with life without internet and mobile phones.

The mishap yesterday showed us that we have become far too dependent on just one company, Facebook. And that mustn’t be. It is never a good thing when too much control is in the hands of too few. There are alternatives. Instead of WhatsApp, we just used Telegram to keep in touch with our sons. And there are many other apps to fill the void.

I have to say that yesterday evening was good for us, we felt a certain calm that was very pleasant. We don’t always have to know what’s going on in the whole world, we also need time to focus on ourselves, on our family. This is something that has been lost to the constant use of the smartphone. It was particularly noticeable in how much I checked my phone yesterday to see when the crisis would be over.

And today everything is fine again, we are connected again, the world is in our hands again. You too, dear readers, can visit our Facebook page again and contact us. The connection with our readers, the friends of Israel, is very important to us. As you can see, we also use Facebook for this, but also other platforms, such as Telegram, where you can read interesting articles that do not always reach the “normal” news. Have a look: Israel Today on Telegram

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