An accountant describes the horrific scene in his office,
“All of a sudden, people were shooting up from their desks, looking around like rabid animals, asking desperately if the same had happened to anyone else. It was horrible. One woman began pulling out large chunks of her hair and mashing them into her keyboard, while mumbling incoherent rants. Her office mate threw his head in his hands lurching up and down in a fit of furious tears. All eyes were wide, and all faces distorted with severe anxiety. The air was thick with what no one would say; no one could admit that it had actually happened – welcome it to reality by breathing its existence into the atmosphere. Finally, someone spoke, ‘GMAIL IS DOWN!’”
This was the situation that took place in many offices around the world. On August 11th, 2008, Gmail went down and chaos ensued. Well, maybe not this level of chaos, but the amount of ranting and raving that laced the internet for those long hours was absurd. People were all over their favorite forums, in full on ‘angry rant’ mode, spouting every variation of “Google sucks” known to man and criticizing the company down to the very way they do business. These two hours of down time, akin in devastation apparently to the New York City Blackout of 1977.
If you type any combination of ‘Gmail down’ or ‘Gmail out’ into any popular search engine, what follows in a massive list of sites, all referring to the catastrophic, panic inducing outage that took place two days ago. In forums today people are talking about it as though it were a tragedy; a massive event which shook them to their core and exposed to them, their desperate attachment to email.
But really…two hours? Is it really that big of a deal? The reaction to this downtime is just another indicator to me that our society has become truly addicted to communication. The second people leave work or school or any other place that they might be obligated to be, they are already dialing a number or their thumbs have already been furiously texting for the past twenty minutes. It’s no surprise that Gmail’s going down, even briefly, was a shock to so many systems. Why do people feel the need to be constantely connected to everyone else at all times? Kind of weird if you ask me…