Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Day The Net Went Dark

I've never been accused of being an optimist - and maybe it's just the rainy, humid weather here in Amsterdam, but my thoughts today returned to the pessimistic side of my personality.

Hey, what can I say?

I was thinking about the botched launch of the iPhone, the fact that Yahoo is closing its music portal, and the merger is XM and Sirius digital music services... and I was fantasizing on what it would be like if all of a sudden all the popular services (the "cool kids") suddenly went dark.

What would it be like if just shut down its servers Monday morning? How about Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and eBay? What if, when we woke up on Monday, all these "staples" of our digital lives didn't exist? Worse yet - what if Google took a huge dump, along with all their related sites and services? What if the entire Internet crashed - and it took 30 days to reboot?

What would happen?

Chaos.... for about 3 days.

Then people would (gasp!) pick up the phone to schedule meetings, they would get on an airplane and actually meet people IRL (In Real Life). We would all start buying stamps and go to the (gasp!) post office to actually "mail" invoices and send "letters" to people. We would go to the corner drugstore to get (gasp!) "printed" pictures.

We would be forced to tell people to their face what we thought of them - rather than just typing crap on a "blog" - and fax machines all over the world would be pulled from closets and fired up.

Xerox and HP would sell a record number of toner cartridges and getting an appointment with a copy repair person would be like trying to get someone to install an air conditioner in Phoenix in August.

Paper companies and airlines and travel agents would be riding high - as well as hotels, rental car companies and restaurants. People would return to nightclubs and comedy shows and good old-fashioned dinner-and-a-movie dates.

People would actually buy "newspapers" (daily printed paper with world wide news that happened in the last 24 hours) and gather in "coffee shops" to talk about pressing national and international events.

There would be a minor "baby boom" as couples... well... coupled. Kids all over the world would actually get to talk to the adult "strangers" they call "parents" who previously occupied the dinner table with their Crackberries visible (on vibrate - of course) and their eye on the real time stock ticker and after hours trading on their NIKKEI index hedge funds.

Lines at government offices would get longer - and service would still suck. People would stand in line to make deposits and withdrawals using human "tellers" (people who actually work at a bank!). People would actually go to their mailboxes and receive mail that wasn't 100% spam advertisements.

At work people could finally concentrate on whatever it was they did before responding to the Pavlovian "ding" of arriving email. Bosses would be forced to actually "talk" to their employees and there would be a run on "interoffice mail" envelopes at office supply stores.

FedEx and UPS stock would be the new Wall Street darlings while the tech sector would be in the "fire sale" bin. Companies would be forced to hire "people" to answer their phones - and for one brief period, the entire population of India wouldn't be inundated with tech support and credit card activation calls.

Then, finally, after 30 long days of living in the "dark" ages... things would thankfully return to "normal."

No comments:

Web Analytics