But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And I won’t be shamed for it and made to feel like I’m some braindead teenager who can’t put down their phone for an hour.
In early July, one of Canada’s largest media providers went down for over a day. Canada has a media duopoly going on up here, and Rogers is half of that, so a good chunk of people woke up to no phone service, no internet, and no cable on what was supposed to be a normal Friday. We’d then find out that this outage was so bad that it was affecting 911 calls, debit payments, and so much more. Half of the country came to a halt, so of course the question came about of if our reliance on technology was a problem.
Funny how technology wasn’t a problem when the pandemic started. It was a godsend and still is.
The question shouldn’t be if we’re too reliant on technology and instead should be if we’re okay letting media corporations dictate our livelihoods in the name of profit. It should be do we think the governments are doing a good job creating environments that meet the needs of citizens.
I know I use technology a lot. I’m scrolling social media more than I should. But guess what? I also work in digital marketing. And I work from home. And I’m in a long-distance relationship. And I like memes. I was built to use technology, and I’m not sorry for doing so in a world where so much of my life needs it to function. I can’t even go buy an ice cream cone without technology because the coupon is only available on in-app purchases. I didn’t choose this, and I don’t like the idea that it’s weak, sheep-like humans who are the problem here.
If society wanted to move away from being so technologically reliant, maybe make it less expensive to do so. Gas prices, hobby memberships, even the cost to get stamps are too high, and it’s understandable that people are choosing to rely on cheaper options that usually take the form of technology.
But with that said, I think the Rogers outage did at least give us an opportunity to think about how we can deal with outages better in the future. We’re not going to stop needing technology, and outages are always going to happen, so what backup plans do we need? I was lucky that my cellphone is with Bell, so I was able to hotspot into work for a minute to tell my boss I had no internet. I don’t know how I would’ve contacted him otherwise, as I work from home and don’t have work phone numbers or other means of communication. Not having all my services on one provider saved me there. And I have some friends I only communicate with through Facebook Messenger, so we had to turn to infrequently-used text messages to interact, so I’m glad I had their numbers from way back when. I keep a few bills of cash on hand so I don’t have to worry about ATMs or debit machines not working.
There was talk of the Canadian government looking into this media duopoly since so much was affected by one company, but I doubt anything will really change. So we’ll stay reliant and stay at the mercy of big tech.
I survived that day of the Rogers outage. I also survived a few weekends later when our neighbours accidentally cut our Rogers line while landscaping so we didn’t have phone, TV, or internet for two days. I survived a day without power while dogsitting. It’s not ideal, but I’m not some slave to machines, and I won’t feel bad about the lifestyle I lead. I’m doing my best to get by, just like every other tech user.