If you’re picturing our post-apocalyptic world in your mind as something that involves a bastion of gut-hungry zombies fighting over what’s left of the human race after a bolide impact, imagine if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all those big social media platforms suddenly shut down and completely disappear into the abyss.
ALL HELL WOULD BREAK LOOSE!
Come to think of it, about a decade ago, social media was nothing but a speck of idea. Now, the social media in its entirety has transformed into an essential and pre-conditional appendage to our daily lives. Since then, a number of social platforms have come and gone especially during its rapid growth in the mid-2000, and while most of which have managed to emerge from the vast horizon of the Interweb and gained notoriety for their technological and cultural relevance, some went on to move past the “connect and reconnect people” mantra to become catalysts for change and push the norms of Internet utilization by expanding their human-centric products into digital cash cows.
Not that we want to induce the worst case of panic attacks, but just to tickle our curiosity, here’s a bizarre, hypothetical Black Mirror-esque question:
“What happens if the Internet decides to stop its operations for good?”
To give you a vivid prediction, here are some of the things that may likely happen if these major social media sites shut down completely.
On the bright side, you’d definitely know who your “real friends” are. Kidding aside, once your favorite social media sites cease to exist, remote communications will be put on a global-wide hold – from sending a simple regards to your parents to crucial files that need to be delivered elsewhere. Human (and even business) relationships will most likely be ruined. Reaching out to families and friends living on the other side of the world would be difficult again due to lags and glitch in communication. In addition, remote file transfers will be close to impossible, as a segment of our current real-time communication means such as instant messaging, calls, and page access will be inaccessible if this digital nightmare befalls upon our existence.
Social sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become a makeshift all-around platform for corporate brands and promising startups to promote and endorse their products & services in an efficient, cost-effective manner. In the event social media pulls the plug, businesses, particularly SMEs and startups, will suffer a great deal of punishment in terms marketing operations. Marketing research, analysis, brand awareness, customer relations, and campaign executions will be compromised in such ways that established brands will be left with no choice but to revert to the old traditional ways of doing these painstaking tasks; SMEs will have troubles in promoting their product; and startups will experience major setbacks in the nesting and development of their projects. Aside from communication troubles, as mentioned above, all of these businesses will lead to one major and critical consideration: MONEY
For one thing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are multi-billion dollar enterprises, and will definitely put the economy to a global scale of a slump once these social media giants decide to close shop. As mentioned, most brands of today rely heavily on social media. With this, the number of unemployment will abruptly spike to an all-time high, stock market will inevitably crash and recession will eventually go on full circle – potentially leading not only the US but the entire world into another great depression.
Data Mining Black Market
It’s no secret that Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms thrive on data mining. Once these platforms flip the kill-switch, there’s a huge chance that most, if not all of these files – including our Personal Identifiable Information – will be prone to leakage and sold directly to corporate sectors, government agencies, even to the black market. This could result to massive privacy paranoia, mistaken identity, fraud, hacking, cyber terrorism, and other security-related threats and crimes.
What is there to improve and innovate if the product itself is nonexistent? Hence, without social media’s presence, technological advancements and innovations that involve social media data integration (e-commerce, fintech, CRM, transportation, access to news and other public information, etc.) can slow down and likely to become stagnant for the next few years or so, considering a large chunk of these developmental components to our digital experience depend immensely on the way we use social media.
In conclusion, this question may seem to come out as a far-fetched idea. Then again, so was Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook – meaning the possibility for this to happen may still be there… albeit it’s less likely to transpire within the next century.
Nevertheless, don’t take this article the wrong way. From the looks of it, social media isn’t going anywhere for the time being, as it continues to re-establish its relevance to our society through new tech approaches and development.
But if in any case this scenario takes place on our watch, it’s certain that another breakthrough will eventually emerge and create an equally significant impact to the lives of today’s digital-savvy netizens.