We have really done ourselves in as a society. Can you imagine life without a smartphone? Texting? Emailing? Facebook? Well, maybe you can imagine it and maybe you’d even prefer we go back to a simpler time – a time when we weren’t so concerned with being in constant communication with each other; a time when relaying an “lol” or an “lmfao” could wait till you were done speeding down the highway in your Prius while drinking a latte and simultaneously programming your GPS.
Unfortunately for you, it’s way, way beyond the point of no return. In order to keep up with the Joneses, we find ourselves relying heavily on modern digital technology just to get through the day. So much so that when something goes wrong – i.e., WhatsApp, an innovative application that allows its users to communicate via email and text, stops working for a few hours – we freak out. Despite the fact that this service is basically free (after the first year there is a 99 cent annual fee), angry subscribers cannot stand to have their expectations crushed when the system breaks down, even if for only a short while.
It seems, in this case, that the anger is not just based on a simple power outage. Saturday’s problem with WhatsApp comes within a week of its acquisition by Facebook for $19 billion dollars. The “glitch” appears to have been the result of server overload due to the fact that so many new users are suddenly downloading and utilizing the program. However, the fury is clearly being directed towards the WhatsApp programmers who were assumed, by many, to have taken their fingers off the controls for a moment to do a “we are freaking rich” dance. This journalist even saw a social media post featuring the alleged WhatsApp creators smiling brightly accompanied by a caption that read: “We’re in the Caribbean bro.”
While that last notion is clearly not the case, can we really blame users for this kind of outrage? While most Americans make a yearly income of “jack squat” (to use a technical term), we see executives of companies like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google bathing in millions, if not billions, of dollars. So when something does go wrong, perhaps these social media moguls do deserve to feel the wrath of us consumers who buy into their technology and just expect it to work properly. Maybe instead of spending a few hundred thousand dollars on a new sports utility vehicle for the fam, the money could be used to hire more technical support to ensure these errors do not ever occur.
After all, what did WhatsApp and Facebook expect to happen? They must have known that joining forces was going to create a huge surge in popularity and result in exponential usage. If they had anticipated better, this whole ordeal that “ruined” the lives of 450 million users for a whopping 3.5 hours could have been avoided.
Editorial by Josh Taub