Hacked! What thought comes to your mind when you hear this word? Breach of privacy, right? The feeling is similar to a situation when someone cracks open your door and gets inside and you are locked out of your own house.
On 20th June 2010, while tweeting from my account @rocksstar10 , I realized that some tweets were deleted from my timeline. And I didn’t delete those tweets. Sensing something was wrong, I tried to change my password, and then my worst fear came true. It didn’t accept my password. After dozens of attempts, it dawned on me that I was hacked. Someone broke into my account and now I don’t have control over it. Scary, huh?
It is very natural for anyone to hit the panic button at this time. I did too. Since I was still logged in, I didn’t sign out, as I won’t be able to sign in back. I thought for a while and then took the decision of deactivating my account. It was difficult. I didn’t give my credentials to any site, I had revoked access of unwanted connections and always took care to avoid clicking on suspicious links, in DMs as well. But still, I got hacked. Stalkers? Maybe.
I have written previously about how twitter made a difference in my life and now I had to delete that very source of inspiration. And then I did it. Account deactivated.
Now that it’s over, What were the effects?
1. I lost all my tweets : Twitter is a constant source of incredibly useful information. I had favorited tons of useful tweets. I retweeted a lot of great tweets too. Now, they were all gone.
2. I lost my followers/following : Okay, so I know follower number doesn’t equal your twitter influence, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that building a follower number takes hard work and patience. Following the right people, going through their profiles, was some effort. Now, I was back to square one.
3. I lost my handle: This may sound weird but I loved my handle (@rocksstar10). Ask yourself, aren’t you attached to your twitter username? I’m sure most of you are nodding right now. It had, sort of, become my identity. If you want to deactivate your account, but want your previous username, you can change your handle and email and THEN delete your account. This will be possible if the hacker hasn’t changed your password yet. You will be able to create a new account with your previous handle again.
The Positives :
Wondering what could be the positive side of being hacked? Well, there’s always a silver lining in every situation.
1. New account: I created a new account @rawkstar10 . I followed less than 300 people on the first day of my new account. I noticed that I didn’t miss tweets at all. I could interact with my friends on a personal basis. My stream wasn’t ringing with tweets and somehow I loved it. Earlier with 3700+ followers, it was tough to go through each person’s tweets, but now I could read each tweet of all my favorite people!
2. Support from friends : The first person I contacted during my “crisis” was @AskAaronLee . I liked what he said, that “Great friends will always stand by you”. I was overwhelmed by the response I got from my twitter friends. It was difficult to let everyone know about my new handle, but my friends @Paul_Steele @Peri37 @LeyMarieCel @Pramitjnathan @MASismore @flemcy @NikkiD66 @livetorque @terrinakamura @BarryckR @hadel and many others, helped spread the word.
3. New Beginning : It was a brand new start. I wasn’t sorry about what happened. Because as they say,”It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle what happens to you, that matters” I was sad for a day but back with a bang on the next! I was tweeting again with a vengeance to prove that NO one can ever bring me down. 🙂
- What you should do:
After I deleted my account, I filed a ticket and twitter replied immediately. But if you have a similar situation, here’s what you should do.
This was a different experience for me and I’m happy about it! Yes, I’m not depressed at all! On the plus side, I made many new friends on the new account and I’m loving every bit of it!
The Twitter team is VERY efficient and I got my account back in 10 days!
P.S. This post does NOT suggest, in any way, that you should delete your account. This piece is merely based on my experience and is a genuine effort to spread awareness about it. Hope this post helps!