A strange phenomenon occurred in offices and workplaces everywhere just recently.
Ashen-faced employees could be seen looking glumly at their monitors, scratching their heads and even conversing with the person sat next to them in more than just grunts and ineligible noises.
But what was it that caused this strange and uncharacteristic behavioural shift?
Was it news that an asteroid was plummeting towards earth and we only had minutes to live?
Was it the declaration of World War 3?
Surely it couldn’t be the announcement that a new series of Big Brother has been commissioned?
It was that Facebook was “down” for 20 long minutes (I’m sure you noticed).
But for those who did, it was a 20 minutes that gave us a chance to reflect on the way we live our social media-obsessed lives – seeing as we had little else to do (besides write this article).
In the 10 years since Facebook’s inception there is little doubt it has changed the way we live, work, play and, of course, communicate with each other.
So this brief interlude, if nothing else, was a chance to “get back to basics” and do all the things we did pre-Facebook.
Great, but does anyone know what they actually were anyway?
As hard as it is to believe, life did exist before 2004, so here are just some of the things we might have found ourselves doing more of if things had turned out a little differently:
1. Work (more)
If last Wednesday is anything to go by, the productivity of workplaces across the world would be far greater if Facebook had remained just a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.
Assuming we spend just an hour each day updating statuses and seeing what other people have (or haven’t) been up to when we should be working, that works out at almost a full working day every week, four days a month, 48 days a year….
Still not sure? See how much time you’ve spend on Facebook in the last 10 years.
2. Talk to others
OK. You can’t blame Facebook for the way we communicate digitally. That all changed with the advent of the internet.
But there is little doubt expressing feelings, anger, delight, sadness, pretty much every emotion we have in public is now acceptable thanks to what we put on our profile pages.
So would we have even considered sharing such private thoughts with people we barely knew before Facebook?
Well even if we had, we’d have had to say it to their face – what a horrible thought!
3. Enjoy our food
A recently opened restaurant is so aware that photographing dishes and sharing the images on Facebook is so de rigueur that they are actually offering free meals to customers who promise to tell the world about the food they are eating.
What’s the old saying about the proof of the pudding being in the eating?
Well it seems Facebook has changed all that too.
4. Be more of an activist
It’s so easy now isn’t it?
You see something that annoys you or you feel strongly about and you join a Facebook campaign group – problem solved.
You don’t have to march on parliament; you don’t have to stand out in the cold and rain with a clip board hoping that people will sign your petition.
You just click a button and the world is a better place – well that’s the idea anyway.
5. Meet-up with old pals
Fifty per cent of UK Facebook users have 200 “friends” or more. But how often do we actually see them in the flesh?
An online community is a great way of keeping in touch with friends in far flung places, but it can also mean that we don’t bother to meet-up regularly with those we know who live just round the corner.
Think about it. When was the last time you were invited to a reunion or old friends get together?
It seems there’s little need when a gentle poke will do.