Often when I think of the internet, my mind goes to Google or searching the web.  I don’t think about all the other ways in which it touches my life.

For about 36 hours last week, our internet access was unavailable at the office.  Suddenly, it hit home how much of our work life is intertwined in that world wide web.

No one from outside our organization could email us or vice versa.  Clients could not access our website or all the forms that are housed within it so we couldn’t receive applications or event registrations.  We were unable to access the master calendar or our directory.  

It reminded me of when the electricity goes out during a storm.  Often electricity means “lights”, so when the lights go out we initially think of all the alternative activities we could enjoy.  Watch a movie or television: nope.  Get caught up on dishes or laundry: try again.  Play on the computer: sorry.  Turn on a fan because the air-conditioner doesn’t run: wrong.

Another scenario like this occurred when I lost heat during an ice storm.  You expect the room to be chilly, but not your clothes and covers, and worse, your water.  You can’t use the stove to make hot cocoa or take a hot shower or warm up clothes in the dryer…everything is cold when the electricity is out in the winter.

You may not realize your daily interaction with the internet, electricity or heat — that is until you are without them.  Even a void of a few hours can be illuminating as to your dependence on all the things they impact.

While everything is working as it should, take a moment to anticipate what is essential should you be without some element of your fundamental infrastructure.  Having redundancies and backup plans that are tangible and tactile instead of virtual and invisible could prove to be lifesavers.

Even the old fashioned paper and ink version of a critical document or candlelight and matches are a welcome sight when adversity strikes.  Technology is a wonder only when it works.

— beth triplett

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