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The holy trinity of Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp stopped working for a bit last night (SGD time), leading to bouts of mild hysteria (cue the eruption of hashtags #instagramdown #whatsappdown #facebookdown) and with many taking to Twitter (ironically) to vent their frustration. Many were unable to upload images or videos onto Instagram or Facebook, while on Whatsapp, some were unable to send photos, videos and voice messages.

Facebook, which runs all three platforms, has said that the issue was triggered “during one of [its] routine maintenance operations”. The last time the trio suffered a major outage was in March, with some users around the globe facing trouble accessing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp for over 24 hours. Facebook  blamed that problem on a server issue.

The next time this happens (and it most likely will, because, technology), you don’t have to decry your existence, go into a meltdown and ponder whether your life is over. Remember life before social media was ever created? It was beautiful then too. Here are some things you can do now that you’re not scrolling endlessly through your feeds.


1. Read a book

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There are many scientifically proven facts on why reading brings serious perks to your health and happiness. It increases one’s intelligence, boosts your memory power, makes you more empathetic (for literary fiction readers, anyway) and whisks you away to another world, which helps reduce stress. There’s a reason why the idea of comfort is cuddling in an armchair with tea and a book, not tea and your mobile phone.

Unfortunately, the humble paperback/hardback (or for the tech-savvy, the e-book) has been sidelined in recent times, thanks to the advent of social media. An article has shown that you could read 200 books in the time you spend on social media each year.

Now that all your favourite social media platforms are unavailable, it’s time to reignite the habit or kickstart a new one, for those who have not been on the bandwagon, by reaching for a tome (old-fashioned printed books FTW). Our personal favourite is One Day and Time Traveller’s Wife — the movie versions don’t do them justice, please.


2. Go for a run

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There’s nothing simpler and more fuss-free than just getting into some sports gear, slipping into your sports shoes, and hitting the pavement around your neighbourhood for a quick 5k run. If you haven’t done it in a while, or ever, go slow, hydrate and listen to your body. But once you’ve gotten into a rhythm or have done it consistently enough, it promises to be a meditative, even fun process.

For something truly exhilarating, try running with the Zombies! Run app. Set in an apocalyptic world overrun with zombies, you’ll be tasked with missions to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their homes, while trying to escape from the hordes of dead people. Simply connect your headphones and run like your life depends on it when you’re being chased by zombies. Sounds like fun.


3. Have a HTHT (heart-to-heart-talk) with someone

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Nothing beats face-to-face contact with your loved ones. Often, we are so distracted by the Internet that we keep our heads down and our eyes averted, barely looking up to register the presence of someone beside you. Or we prefer to text rather than meet for a chat. But talking about problems, or even just about your day, with family and friends can build bonds, release pent-up feelings and help you see things in a different perspective.

So go on, use this time to really engage someone — pull your mum, sister, dad or brother aside and just, chat. Or give a call to a close friend and just check in with them. Who knows, you might even find out that they have been going through some tough times and you get to help them through it.


4. Listen to podcasts

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Instead of listening to your music playlist (although that’s fine too), consider the podcast. Podcasts can sometimes feel like you’re eavesdropping on someone’s conversation or while they’re having a monologue with themselves. But these bite-sized clips can be very informative, intimate and inspirational, and you can learn a thing or two simply by tuning in.

Our favourite is the The Daily, a popular news podcast and radio show by American newspaper The New York Times which received 1.1 million downloads every weekday in June 2018. Hosted by Times political journalist Michael Barbar, it tackles the most pressing current affairs faced in America and around the world. From Iran and North Korea to the protests in Hong Kong and the rise of Narendra Modi, this podcast is an insightful and educational companion to the NYT’s pieces and is an enjoyable listen.

There are also podcasts to up your productivity or to educate you on the world of fashion, if you so fancy.


5. Make a plan for later

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We are often swamped with work or whatnots and fail to factor in some proper work-life balance on top of our distractions (Instagram Stories on auto-play, anyone?). Things get pushed down the priority list and we procrastinate. But a social media outage means you can devote time to your relationships.

Plan for a nice dinner with your partner and make reservations, or book a weekend trip or a family day out. Think of creative ways to make your next available time together good quality fun — there’s no better time than now to put your loved ones first.


6. Learn a new language online


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With so much time on your hands, why not use it to learn a new language which might prove useful for your career in future? Duolingo for instance, is a fun, user-friendly site that says you can learn a language for free in just five minutes a day. Every lesson in Duolingo gives you experience points (XP) and you can earn “streaks”, which you lose if you miss a day (Google it, losing a streak on Duolingo is a thing).

There are plenty of languages available, including popular ones such as Spanish, French, and German and exotic ones such as Hebrew, Swahili, and Hawaiian. You can even learn cool languages such as Klingon, High Valyrian and Navajo, if you know what they are.


7. ‘Marie Kondo’ your closet

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The lack of social media is a good excuse to start getting your life in order and start decluttering using the famous KonMari Method devised by the petite and adorable Marie Kondo. Her method, if you don’t know it already, thanks to that Netflix show, is to keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.

Once that’s done, it’s time to organise things neatly, with the help of some tools. You’ll come out of this hiatus feeling lighter and more refreshed.


8. Get creative with your photos

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Go through the older pictures in your photo album and see what you can do with some of them. Chances are, many of them didn’t make it to your social media accounts and have been forgotten, buried deep by more current images. You can print them out if you have an instant camera printer like the nifty Canon iNSPiC (it has an S series and a C series) or the instax Share SP-3, string them up with twine and secure them to a wall or on a grid metal frame.

Or make creative collages or posters using apps in the market where you can add borders, banners, stickers, texts filters and the like, such as Canva, Moldiv, Unfold and Adobe Spark Post.


9. Write postcards or notes to people

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When was the last time you received a handwritten note from someone, just because? And no, we don’t mean that angrily scribbled piece of paper that’s pinned to your windshield wiper because you were a tad out of your parking lot. While we used to write heartfelt birthday cards or letters on beautifully printed paper products to each other, those days are long gone.

Reignite that nostalgia by penning postcards or notes to your family and friends. Let them know how grateful you are that they are in your life, and include an anecdote that you remember or love about them. Don’t forget to ask how they have been. Pack your letters or cards nicely and send them by the old school method of post (yes, they still exist). Better yet, request that they write you back in the same old-school manner, instead of a cursory text.