Most technology coaches you come across will sing the praises of their #PLNs. Since joining Twitter in August 2017, I have definitely been among those praising #edutwitter. Becoming a connected educator truly changed my life. Like I shared in my February 9, 2019 post, I have learned so much from my social media connections and made connections with people around the world. These experiences took me from being a good teacher to a great educator.
Like most things pre-COVID-19, I took this account for granted. I figured it would always be there.
When I woke up yesterday on April 2, 2020, I found out that someone had hacked into the professional Twitter account that I have been using for almost 3 years. I felt panicked. I quickly reached out to Twitter customer support, hoping that they could fix it. After all, they had sent me three emails overnight saying that there was suspicious activity. But by then, it was too late. The hacker had already changed my Twitter handle, my email address and my password.
I didn't know what else to do- over the past two and a half years, I have built an amazing PLN and was following over 2000 fantastic educators. At the time , I was hacked, I had over 1600 followers.
What if this hacker posted something that reflected poorly on me?
What if I couldn't get back into my account?
What if this hacker had compromised other accounts?
At first, nothing was posted by this hacker, but by mid-afternoon, my profile picture was gone and replaced by a Grand Theft Auto picture and he had changed my handle and name. I was so upset- I realized at this time, I would need to create a new account and start over.
So I went and created a new account. When I made my first account, I was a classroom teacher, so @MrsTannenb made sense. But I have been a tech coach the past two years and knew I needed a handle to reflect that- @TannenbaumTech became my new Twitter handle.
Using every hashtag that I could think of, I tweeted with my new account that I had been hacked and that people should unfollow my previous account. I looked up people that I had been following and followed them. Slowly today, people have been following me back. I hope that they unfollow my previous account as well.
During the COVID-19 closure, all of us feel isolated. In Virginia where I work, we began prepping for virtual classes this week. To keep all of us healthy and safe, we are all sheltering in place. Life has changed dramatically, but there are some things that had stayed the same. Before being hacked, my Twitter PLN was one of those things.
Being locked out of my account made me feel even more disconnected. I rely on my PLN for inspiration. I love how supportive they are and treasure all of the chats that I participate in. I learn so much from everyone and the idea of not having that- it really bothered me.
As I started working on my Twitter account, another realization hit me. I wasn't starting over- I was rebuilding. I have made some amazing connections on Twitter in the past two and a half years- many of those connections I have met face to face. We took selfies and I still have them. Since starting my journal, I have printed out many special tweets and added them to my journal. Yes, I lost something yesterday. Yes, I felt violated that someone stole something from me. But he took an account, not a network.
My PLN is still out there and I just need to reconnect with those amazing people in a new place. The relationships I have built are still there- they just need to be rekindled. So if you were part of my PLN before this, please follow my new Twitter handle @TannenbaumTech and unfollow MrsTannenb.
I can't wait to follow you back and continue all of the wonderful learning we began together in my new account. We are truly #bettertogether.