Everything is always connected

Last week Facebook and its other platforms Instagram and WhatsApp had a major outage. For some, the forced break from Social Media was a relief while others decided to use last Monday as a sign that they should reduce or eliminate their time on Social Media platforms altogether. While the debate rages on to the value (or lack of) social media in our lives, there were some real business and financial losses that came from the almost business day the platforms were down.

The Facebook platform was expected to have lost somewhere between $65M – $100M in advertising revenues. Additionally, it’s estimated valuation took a hit in the billions.

But there were other ramifications as well. 

There are a host of other apps where users access their accounts via their Facebook accounts – shopping websites, smart TVs and other devices – all inaccessible.

WhatsApp – the messaging platform owned by Facebook – also went down. WhatsApp is the major messaging platform in many underdeveloped countries where internet broadband is expensive or not readily available. Utilizing their cellphones, this app is the underpinning of whole economies where entrepreneurs advertise, take, and fulfill orders throughout their networks.

Additionally, when any kind of service with the impact of Facebook has a major outage, there are secondary and tertiary impacts. I spent nearly half my day correcting a problem with my new wireless carrier. Each time I called in, there was a recorded message stating that they could not assist customers with their access to Facebook (which tells you how many calls that they had received already.) For me, it was an additional 30 seconds that I didn’t need to hear. Multiply that across all the wireless and broadband networks, it is a customer service nightmare for a problem they had nothing to do with.

Most of my clients don’t advertise (or even use) Facebook to promote their services or products but for those who do, it was painful. I spoke to one client whose primary business is running social media ads. He reported that many of his clients’ sales dipped on Monday and was thankful none had planned a major launch that day. (Product launch campaigns can take weeks or months to plan and can generate millions of dollars in a few short days.)

Most of us want to believe that what we do in our businesses can be controlled internally with the right amount of ingenuity, planning and effort. But we live in an increasingly more connected society as the Facebook outage taught us because almost 3 billion people couldn’t connect. 

Our real challenge is to expect these seemingly unrelated events and learn to adapt and respond effectively. 

For example, yesterday our local car dealer told us that the manufacturers are going to start shipping cars to the lot without their missing electronic chips. When the chips arrive, the dealers will do the installation on site. It achieves two objectives – reducing the backlog at the factories when the chips come in and gives consumers something to look at even if they can’t drive it yet.

And my client who did social media ads? 

With all the downtime on Monday, he created real-time reporting benchmarks to show his clients the impact of their services to clients’ sales. He said, “It created another opportunity to reinforce the value of what we do for our clients.”

Have a great week!