Right now, there’s a generation trying to work out the limitations of SMS messages. They’re learning that international messages cost a lot of money and as for sending GIFs? Well, let’s just say there’ll be a few hefty bills next month. The cause of all this? There’s a worldwide WhatsApp outage – thems some fairly scary words, aren’t they?

WhatsApp is down? What’s happening?

Just after 9pm this evening, reports that WhatsApp was down in Ireland began to emerge on social media – namely Twitter.

And it’s not just us, as reports from Western Europe, Asia and America are also rolling through news feeds. It would be easy to miss too as there is little or no warning in the app when there is an extended lack of connection. Users just see that bloody little clock when they send a message. Using the word unprecedented might seem a bit dramatic, but literally, it’s a suitable term. WhatsApp has been extremely reliable since overtaking SMS messages in recent years, with this being the biggest outage yet. Plus, it’s not Viber.

Why is this such a big deal?

Ah sure, it’s not really a big deal. There’s probably a few people angrily waiting for a reply to a message, but there’s hardly planes falling from the sky. But right now, Sky News have their super dramatic rolling ticker describing the outage. Services going down like this do serve as a warning because we’ve become so dependant on instant messaging. Twitter is lighting up with people almost relieved it’s widespread rather than just their issue. For the love of God though, don’t revert to Viber.

It’s definitely North Korea

Well, we did spot that more people were Googling ‘World War 3’ than usual. Ah no, while WhatsApp has been fairly silent on the issue so far, we’re sure some engineer just tripped over a cable or something. Or, it’s the end of days. How are we supposed to know? Our North Korean WhatsApp group has gone totally silent. And we don’t chat on Viber.

How to survive the Great WhatsApp outage of 2017

There a few simple tips to get you through. Remember, when texting internationally, you need the international dialling code. Also, if you’re messaging two people at once, that’s a MMS message, because texting two people is the same as sending a picture. And MMS needs special settings. Go on, call up your network provider and ask whoever answers for your MMS settings. We’re probably at the stage where that’ll be a first for them. Bless.

Update 11.20pm: Typically, just as I’m about to hit publish, I hear the WhatsApp notification on my phone. Guess we survived the Great 2017 WhatsApp outage.

Update 11.30pm: No, no. Still no WhatsApp. It’s banjaxed.

Update 11.40pm: No seriously, now it’s back.