Along with millions of others, I had trouble accessing my Facebook account the other day. And now that I can, the messages in my inbox seem to have disappeared. Facebook has been experiencing lots of problems in the past few days, most related to technical issues with one of its databases that the company says it is working on.
The fact that a website is having technical difficulties is not news, for sure. But the reaction by members of the popular social network is a sure sign of how dependent we are becoming on networks like Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family–and to network about our work and our search for new work. Given that dependence, it’s understandable how upset Facebook members would be when experiencing glitches. But as Cnet’s Carolyn McCarthy notes, getting annoyed by the response (or lack of response) by customer service from a free service isn’t all that productive: “… Facebook is a free product, so it arguably doesn’t have a customer
service obligation on par with your cable company or the Web site where
you bought your last pair of shoes.”
Facebook has more than 300 million active users around the world. LinkedIn has more than 45 million users. Twitter, 50 million registered users. For many of us, social networks have become infused in our work and play. For some, Facebook has effectively replaced email as the way to keep in touch with family and friends, and has become integral to the way they work. So even a day without a favorite social network can throw off a routine.
Have you become attached to or, possibly, dependent on social networks to communicate with family and friends and/or to network about work?