The Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage:

So many of us are held hostage by social media platforms! These platforms, particularly Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, are used by many to conduct business. It has become easy to pick up the phone or open the laptop whilst in your pyjamas and start your workday.

Still, some people use these platforms to highlight injustices, but most use them simply to interact.

Social media platforms were a lifesaver during the pandemic when the world was in lockdown, and we couldn’t move about freely.

I use social media platforms to conduct business and as a tool to communicate between my husband, who works away and my mom, who isn’t physically mobile.

If I take away the business aspect of social media, I see it as a tool (a vehicle) for constant communication between family members and friends.

I try to post some encouraging words, hoping that people who follow me will feel cared for or connected to others. Let’s face it, this world is not only dangerous but can be cruel and lonely too.

No, my life is far from perfect, but I think it’s important to reach out positively to people who may need a kind or encouraging word.

So, when Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were down, I felt lost. As if my battery had died and I had no charger to bring it back to life. I was watching a documentary on my laptop at the time, so at first, I never noticed my phone was extraordinarily quiet. Then I became aware of it and set about the series of events that would hopefully lead me to communicate again.

Staring at the phone, willing it to come alive, to make a sound, anything to indicate that the connection to social media platforms was still there. I had momentarily forgotten that WhatsApp and Facebook were owned by the same company, so I wasn’t interested in checking my Facebook notifications. I have a unique sound for WhatsApp messages from my husband, and he was meant to contact me earlier that evening.

I looked at the Wi-Fi to check if the signals were there; if it was working.

At no time did I go over to Twitter or Telegram because my focus was on WhatsApp. I rebooted my phone (yes, I did what so many of you did) and waited with bated breath for notifications and nothing!

Now, I am unsure if my overactive imagination is because I am a writer or watching too many crime movies! Probably, the latter, I think! But my mind went from my husband falling asleep before he could contact me to him hitting his head on the bath, being thrown overboard (he works on ships), to being captured and held hostage by pirates. Before I could get to the “how am I going to raise money to secure his freedom” thoughts, my daughter burst into my room. “Mom, Zuckerberg’s platforms are down, and it’s trending on Twitter!” It took me a while to respond. (I was still with the pirate hostage scenario) and then I ventured over to Twitter, and #facebookdown was trending. I had no thought about business or the reasons why Facebook was down. All I felt was a rush of relief that my husband was ok. I sent up a silent prayer and hushed my imagination.

I busied myself with reading some of the funny tweets trending and looked at my Telegram app for a message from him. There was no message!

No problem, I was relaxed as if I drank wine and patiently waited to hear from him.

Suddenly, I heard a strange sound emanating from my phone; a helpless little ping. I looked to see where it was coming from, and then I saw it; an SMS notification. I opened it and read, “I’m ok, I love you. WhatsApp down!”  I clutched my heart and sent up a prayer of thanks. He was safe. That’s all that matters.

While the world was in a panic for those few hours because Facebook was down, I slept soundly because my husband had thought to use a form of communication we no longer utilize to reassure me that he was alive and well.