The importance of communication in today’s world

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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If you are a Spectrum customer, your life changed dramatically Monday when the internet went down shortly after noon. There was no phone service, no internet, and for many, no television. Initially, Spectrum said the service should be up and running by 3 p.m. When 3 p.m. came, and the TV and computer were still out, Spectrum updated their message to 6 p.m.

Like most Spectrum customers, you awakened Tuesday to no internet, a picture of Lucy and Ricky on your television screen, no telephone service, and the news that “Spectrum didn’t know how long service would be interrupted.”

Have you tried to put a newspaper out with no communications service? How do you get the news? Since we have computers, how do you get into the system and get articles and ads ready for print? There are no easy answers or ways to do it.

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Since, like you, we rely on email for some news stories, announcements of events, and other news, we were at a loss for news Tuesday morning. Also, like you, we rely on the telephone to get information…blank again.

And, most of the stories that we had done for Wednesday’s edition of the STAR were in computer files that we could not open.

We live in a world that is dependent on cell phones, computers, and our number one entertainment source is the TV. We rely on Facebook for news about our friends and greetings from our friends. It has become the way we communicate, that, and our cell phones. The cell phone is as essential as our billfold, purse, car keys, etc. It’s how we stay connected to family and friends.

And then, television is our go-to source for entertainment, especially in the evenings, when we catch the 6 p.m. news, a ballgame later, a favorite show, etc. But all was silent Monday night and still that way Tuesday.

Our question at the STAR is how do we get a paper out without the internet and the various programs supported by it. I found myself doing stories as a Word document, and from there, our general manager had to figure out how to find a means to build the stories onto the page, since we generally use internet programs to do this.

That was our problem Tuesday morning at the STAR.

Many people awakened Tuesday morning to no morning news; children, to no cartoons, etc. And no telephone. Our world changed overnight.

I grew up in an era where there were no cell phones. If you had a telephone, it was a landline, and usually, there were three or four parties connected to the same line. And we had no television until I was in the fifth grade… and the internet came many years later. In fact, I was working at the STAR and had to go from a manual typewriter to a computer to typing my stories. It was difficult for me to pick up the new technology, and I was not into Facebook and other internet programs as much as many of my younger co-workers were.

And our business was not the only one to experience difficulties Tuesday because of no internet. Many businesses had to go cash-only, since they could not process credit cards or debit cards. The Elizabethton Golf Course reportedly closed for a brief time Monday but Tuesday was taking cash only when it came to paying for a game of golf.

The courthouse, city hall, and many businesses had to do business differently with the internet down, as so many of the programs and information they deal with are on computers.

The internet has changed the way we do business and how we work. And it is a good thing, but when it goes down, we are hurting!

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Spectrum could give no estimate of when service would be restored. After talking to four people, we were told that Spectrum was doing maintenance service in the area, and that the outage was “area-wide.” No time was given for the internet to be restored.

In the meantime, take this time away from computers and cell phones to enjoy the sunshine, time with family and friends, and read a good book. Or it might be a good day to go fishing or to enjoy a day at the lake.

– Rozella Hardin, Editorial Director