April 19, 2014
The Power Of Connectivity And Taking A Break
It was about a month ago on a Sunday that I took a break. It wasn’t by choice. I was exercising in my family room when I heard beeping about ever 30 seconds. After a few moments of confusion I realized it was the battery back-ups on all the computers and the home entertainment system in my house. The power went out. Because the clock on the cable box was still on, I still wasn’t convinced my power was out. Then I looked at my phone, which warned me that I had no Wi-Fi connection. Oh boy.
At times, a power outage — and the loss of connectivity that goes with it — would instantly set me on edge. But this time I actually felt a sense of calm. I finished my workout on my stationary trainer, and then thought about what to do. It was so comforting to settle on the couch to finish the book I was almost through with. I put my cell phone on the table next to me, and also a battery-powered clock so I wouldn’t have to constantly activate my phone just to look at the time.
This is now how most of us handle being disconnected, and it isn’t even normal for me. When I lose connectivity I usually get a bit anxious. I am not alone. A friend posted (probably via her smartphone) earlier today, “Having no power makes me realize that EVERYTHING I like to do involves power.”
Sometimes it’s not even when everything is down, but just that one website. When service goes down, the whole web reacts. I was less calm when Bloglines went down a few weeks ago. I know I am in a minority, but I live by my RSS feeds. After I couldn’t access the site, I went to Twitter and discovered I was not alone in being unable to connect to Bloglines, as well as my reliance on RSS. More recently Instagram went down, TechCrunch reports. Twitter became a platform for people to complain about the outage before Instagram was able to restore service within three hours. The same happened a few weeks ago when WhatsApp went down for several hours.
One way to help your sanity is the site IsItDownRightNow?. The site routinely verifies a host of online services such as Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Gmail, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Tumblr to determine if there are any outages. This log is a bit obsessive, but it can help ease your anxiety.
If it’s really important, verify whether the site is up. But I encourage you to take a breath and take it as a sign that it’s OK to be offline for a short time. Do you really need to see your friends’ pictures on Instagram? Or can you take a few minutes to collect yourself while waiting for the service to come back online? When it does come back, you can binge on what you’ve missed over the past few minutes, or hours.
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