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The Social Media Outage – A Digital Crossroads

Many of you may know that on October 4th, 2021, there was an outage on some of the social media platforms for over five hours. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were shut down, in what has been described by CNBC, as the worst outage for Facebook since 2008.

Facebook apologised for the outage which impacted the social media giant, along with Instagram and WhatsApp, for several hours late on Monday. Like many, they took to Twitter to post the following statement:

“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry,” the statement said.

We watched with interest at the number of people who joined Twitter to vent their anger and despair and this got us thinking about how much time we spend looking at screens. Do we really need to be on there all the time? Or are we just mindlessly scrolling? We also noticed people who were working, mainly in marketing, and they were worried about Social Media channels that they couldn’t post on, or businesses pages that they couldn’t monitor.

Maybe the outage might encourage people to look at the amount of time they spend on Social Media. Growing scientific evidence shows that unconstrained use of digital devices can have negative consequences for businesses in terms of productivity/performance and employees’ mental and physical health. Multitasking and the constant stream of notifications are associated with lower levels of creativity and concentration, and higher stress, while the google effect causes decreased memory efficiency. Collectively called “technostress” these issues are caused both by the technology AND by organisational expectations. The “always on” culture of checking emails at home or on holiday leads to worsened emotional states, poor work-life balance and burnout.

The DIGITAL CROSSROADS project aims to design, develop and implement a new approach to train European SME managers in employee digital wellbeing.

The first tangible results of the project will be the intellectual outputs:

  • IO1: Digital Wellbeing Pathway Creator. An interactive online tool enabling SME managers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in relation to employee digital wellbeing and to determine a suitable pathway through the subsequent learning materials (IO2). A separate version will be designed for business advisors so they can apply the tool with a larger number of clients.
  • IO2: Digital Crossroads Training Programme. A complete set of learning objectives, training materials and case studies providing SME Managers and business advisors to gain the knowledge, skills and self-belief required to implement an in-company programme to prevent employee digital overload.

You can find out more about the project on the website:

Also on social media (within your working hours):
Linked In:

Digital Crossroads is an Erasmus+ project bringing together partners from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Germany. The overall goal of this programme is to enable SME managers to improve the digital wellbeing of their employees

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