The internet broke today – and this time it wasn’t anything to do with a social media stunt pulled by Kim Kardashian.
Deprived of their favourite websites, people flocked to Twitter (which was still live) to join the chorus of tweets expressing anger and/or amusement that the World Wide Web was hanging by a thread.
It’s days like these when we realise just how dependent we are on the internet.
Firstly, we need it for genuinely essential things. If your job relies on keeping up with current affairs, you’re going to have a jolly difficult time completing your to-do list without access to many of the world’s major news sites.
Plus, we’ve become extremely reliant on Amazon aka ‘the everything store’ and other shopping sites, not to mention food delivery apps. Gone are the days when we cared about supermarket opening hours, or physically dialled a number and called our local takeaway.
“I’ll just get Deliveroo ” you tell yourself when you open the fridge and find nothing but a block of mouldy cheddar and a half-empty bottle of ketchup. But what if you couldn’t order a piping hot pizza straight to your door? And how exactly are you supposed to meet the next day delivery deadline for that replacement phone charger when the internet isn’t cooperating?
Then there’s the problem of web-based communication. We all have friends who we only contact via one social media platform. Friends who would be genuinely horrified if you actually went and phoned them.
And anyone who’s dated in the digital age knows the panic that ensues when a dating app goes down and you haven’t yet got the number of the person you’ve been swapping flirty messages with all week. What if they think you’ve ghosted them?
On top of all this, an internet crash takes away a never-ending source of fun and distraction. TikTok dance challenges, inspirational quotes, memes that make you genuinely LOL, photos of your friends’ lunches, panda videos… the list goes on.
What do these things all have in common? They enable hours and hours of procrastination. And isn’t that what the internet is really all about?