Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Do you remember The Great Facebook crash of Last Thursday?


BEFORE I start today’s column, let us all bow our heads and observe a moment’s silence to remember all those friends who lost their virtual lives last week when Facebook was unavailable for 20 minutes.
Some people (appropriately I think) are already calling last week’s outage “Black Thursday” and the hashtag #facebookdown will live on in our timelines, a constant reminder that our freedom to write “WOAAHHHH” in capped letters on Facebook at the end an episode of GOT, just like life itself, is so, so fragile.
I remember exactly where I was the moment I found out my real-time connection with my vast and flourishing social network was cruelly and suddenly severed.
I was working at my desk when a colleague sent me a notification. And by notification, I mean he spoke human words to me.
“Facebook’s down, mate. No-one can get in”, he sniffed.
If Facebook had a ‘Dislike’ button, I would have clicked it as hard as I could.
Within minutes the news started going “viral” around the newsroom.
But like, really, really slowly. People actually had to turn and poke each other to share the terrible news. It took ages to get the topic ‘trending’.
I’ve suppressed much of what happened next (too painful). But I do remember my first instinct was update my status. This was NEWS.
What I’d write, exactly, I didn’t know. All I knew was that it would all be in capped letters, and possibly include the acronym “WTF??” It may have included the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems
But then technology slapped me across the face.
“SORRY, SOMETHING WENT WRONG. GO BACK”.
The words taunted me. The hot glare of the white error page blinded me momentarily.
For a second I felt dizzy. I wanted to shout; “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ALL MY FRIENDS, MARK ZUCKERBERG!!!”
Eventually calmer heads prevailed. I took a breath and my social media training kicked in.
“Think, Greg. You want to express yourself. Facebook’s down. What do you do?”
But … I don’t have a Sina Weibo account? I’ve never used Purk. In MySpace, no one will hear me scream.
The answer was so obvious. Did I need someone to spell it out for me in 140 characters?
Twitter, OF COURSE.
If Facebook was like a scene from Gravity, Twitter was the Creature Cantina from Star Wars. There were pool parties and music in there. Hashtags for everyone!
I started bashing on the keyboard.
“So many Facebook jokes I want to make right now AND I HAVE NOWHERE TO EXPRESS THEM #ohwait”.
My brain’s pleasure centre lit up like a Christmas tree with every favourite and retweet.
Order and balance in the world had been restored.
A few minutes later, Facebook was too. But some of us will #neverforget.
Now, wanna play Candy Crush?
Do you remember the Great Facebook Collapse of Last Thursday?
Does social media cause you anxiety?
How often do you check your phone each day?
This column was first published in The City magazine and on advertiser.com.au