As I’m sure you noticed, Facebook suffered massive downtime to several services last week, including Messenger, Instagram and so on. Such events often serve to highlight what services we have rely on. While I’ve been (at least attempting to) phase out Facebook for some time, there are still some things that I actually need it for.
One example is the communication between board members of a board which I belong to. Luckily, we also have a mailing list so that we can communicate, but the instant messaging features offered by Messenger are less well suited for email. I resolved this by setting up a Discord server for the board – whose use may be expanded in the future, should we wish it to be.
Of course, that’s only part of the equation. The fact is that I’m lucky. I live in Norway, a developed country with a functioning public infrastructure. Not only are services such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger not part of how doctors schedule their appointments – they aren’t allowed to be either. While some politicians may, indeed, communicate with their constituents using such services, we also have a relatively well-functioning and free press.
The fact that these communities are affected like this is part of the global digital divide – one which is all too often left forgotten in the most developed countries in the world. The problem is not only the fact of the digital divide, but also the fact that we don’t see any signs that it is going to be bridged anytime soon.
My point is this: while setting up redundancy for critical systems is important, you also need to consider those systems for which you’re not able to do so.