The Need to Connect
Meta (Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg Recently laid off 11,000 employees. At the time, that was 13% of its workforce. During the pandemic, Facebook was a staple in many homes. It allowed the company to grow at an exponential rate, faster than it would have in normal circumstances.
Zuckerberg wrote, “Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments…I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
I find it baffling that the leaders of social media do not understand a basic human need: to connect. People had a need to connect, and they could no longer do so in person. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media giants thrived during a physical lockdown. Malls closed, masses quarantined, and offices shuttered, not to mention many shuls locking their doors, the failure of the health authorities to prioritize the need for connection led the flocks not just to the internet, but many to depression and despair, and even worse, innumerable to their death.
We have many lessons we can learn from these tragic failures, and they are all found in our mesora…
- Klal yisroel – a nationhood
- Davening with a minyan – small groups
- Chavrusa learning – close friends
- Pikuach nefesh – mental health and caring for the ill
…just to name a few.
An important note, however, is that in the end, this is from the hand of HaShem. We may not understand it now, and maybe never, but we can take these lessons to heart to change for the better.
During the pandemic I was blessed to belong to a close-knit community that supported and helped each other in their needs. Not everyone was so fortunate.
I look at these workforce reductions as a timely reminder that virtual can never replace in person and the internet is not the wave of the future. We need community and we need to mark our Avodas HaShem priority.
Going forward, let’s look to the Torah for guidance and our path, not talking heads of politics and economic distractions.
May we merit the redeemer from Zion, who will bring us back to Yerushalayim and restore the Temple, speedily and in our days.