Why Do We Panic When Our Favorite Sites Crash?
5 months ago
The Internet makes errors too, folks
Last week, Internet users were plagued by—and greatly panicked because of—outages on several of their favorite sites.
Just before noon on Monday, Google's email service Gmail, along with its browser Chrome and its file storage service Drive, went down for several minutes due to what the company only referred to as an "issue." Hours later, before anyone could fully recover, Facebook "made a change to [its] DNS infrastructure," causing its members to see an error message when trying to log in. And on Wednesday evening, after experiencing "slow loading and intermittent errors" during the day, popular blog-hosting platform Tumblr was taken down to "resolve a network issue."
Internet users took to the one of the few sites that was working properly—Twitter—to express their anxiety. And it looked a little something like this:
To some, these would be considered completely over-dramatic and unreasonable responses to something so temporary. But not to Tammy Chriest of Erie, Pa.
"I can't stand to be away from the Internet," Chriest said. "It is my lifeline to the outside world. I have a desktop, laptop and iPad so that I am never out-of-touch and when anything crashes I feel like I have lost my best friend. Even though nothing too important is being said on Twitter, I still have to know what it is that's being said. The Internet is, not even a habit but, an addiction that I cannot break—not even with a 12-step process."
And Chriest isn't alone. According to Cisco's third annual global Connected World Technology Report, 60 percent of the 18-to-30-year-olds surveyed compulsively check their smartphones for emails, texts or social media updates; two-thirds said they spend just as much (or more) time socializing with friends online than they do in person; and two out of five said they “would feel anxious, like part of me is missing” if they couldn’t use their smartphones to stay connected.
So what gives? Why the sheer panic when the web shows weakness?
Sure, once-reliable sites aren't running as they should, but Michael Knowles, a marketing consultant, believes it's us who make the first mistake of humanizing the Internet—and then holding it to an illogically high standard.