A Day Without Facebook in Viet Nam

facebook logoFacebook is hot in Viet Nam.  I mean sizzling, ubiquitous, on fire.  Seemingly indispensable.  It connects 35 million people in a population of about 94 million, who check their accounts on a regular basis, mainly from their mobile devices.  Facebook Messenger is the preferred means of online communication among young people.  According to a January 2016 tech presentation, average daily use of social media, i.e., Facebook is king, via any device is 2 hours and 18 minutes a day.  That’s nearly 10% of each day that Vietnamese spend on Facebook.

Facebook can be informative, enlightening, touching, and entertaining.  That’s 5% of it; the other 95% is garbage, in my opinion.  Spending time on Facebook looking for something of value is like mining for gold.  You have to sift through A LOT of worthless ore to find a few nuggets of gold.


Actually, Two Days, Give or Take

OMG.  For some reason (I’ll leave it to others to speculate), Facebook was down for much of the weekend – a blessing in disguise?  Facebookers flocked to their Twitter accounts to express their discontent, frustration, and anger.  It was like a heroin addict who suddenly couldn’t score.  Withdrawal symptoms began to set in almost immediately.  How were they going to spend all that precious time?  What were they missing out on?

One website called OutageReport-Facebook features a “Facebook Outage Map” that shows where the site can’t be accessed around the world on any given day.  It also has a green button that Facebookers can click on to confirm that the current status is OK in their city and a red one to inform the site that things are not OK.  There’s another website called Downdetector that has a more attractive “Facebook Outage Map” with map and satellite views.

Courtesy of Downdetector.  Screenshot from 18.20 on 15.5.16.  The big yellow spot is HCMC and the small one is Hanoi.

Both received a steady stream of Tweets from disgruntled Facebookers in Viet Nam who couldn’t get their fix.

Aaahhhh! What’s wrong with #Facebook. Can’t connect

Only 2days of weekend,why can’t access FB &Ins

So sad, to day i can’t connect to Facebook in Viet Nam.

HI @_____ w’d you kindly let me know what is happening on Facebook website today in Vietnam? Many people can’t access this site today

Yes, dear reader, Facebook can be addictive.  (Just Google “Facebook addiction.”)   Take a look at yourself and people around you.  There’s plenty of good research into this topic, including how it can even be measured in brain patterns.  One study found that the brains of people who report compulsive urges to use Facebook show some brain patterns similar to those found in drug addicts.  Researchers in Norway developed a psychological scale to measure Facebook addiction, the first of its kind.  Do you have a fear of missing out (FoMO)?  Are you really addicted?  Take one or both of these quizzes and find out, if you dare.

Quiz: Are You Actually Addicted to Facebook?

The Facebook Addiction Test

What could these Facebookers in Viet Nam have done – offline, in the real world?  First, step back and take a moment to recognize that this brief respite was a blessing in disguise.  Find something worthwhile to do in the here and now.  Talk to your family and friends, exercise, hang out at a cafe, read a book, close your eyes and let your mind wander and recharge.  The possibilities are endless.  Look Up! a la the 2014 video poem by Gary Turk, which now has over 57 million views on YouTube.  Think of what you are “MO” on by spending inordinate amounts of time on Facebook.  Like the Internet itself, Facebook is a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse, but you’re in control.  Right?

A day without Facebook is like a day without sunshine?  Hardly.


“The key question to keep asking is, ‘Are you spending your time on the right things?’ Because time is all you have.”  (Randy Pausch, 1960-2008)

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