Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Unexpected Dilemmas

When faced with a dilemma do you attempt to find a solution or run away from the issues? I must admit when my Twitter account was hacked on top of two leaky faucets (with water running amok), and other minor disruptions, I was tempted to run out shouting, "I had enough." But...then, I paused, reflected, and tried to gain balance. It was not until I found the hashtag #GratitudeMonday (3 days) later that I could honestly say to myself, "Believe in the impossible." 

On Saturday night, when I returned from a full day of standing outside at a street fair in the "cold" autumn weather (for the H.E.L.P. bead sale to raise funds for education in Masese, Uganda), I found a myriad of inconveniences awaiting me. Being cold was the first one to tackle since it was thirty degrees outside and frigid inside. Recalling fourteen days within water, heat, and electricity during Superstorm Sandy set me in motion to get the heat on. Next task to tackle as I opened my computer...
"Yikes! Did Halloween come early? Who's tricking me because there are surely no treats in my Twitter account."
In fact there were only tricks in the account. 5200+ members of a global PLN vanished. I was locked out of Twitter! The only clues were a tweet and DM about strangeness on my account earlier in the day. Since I could not see anything from my end, I put those aside noting to myself to come back and change my password Saturday night. When I tried that step, I realized that it was too late to check off that task so I began the process of contacting Twitter Support. Did you know that there is no one to speak with and only tickets to fill out at @Support? Hours of trying to solve this problem only frustrated me more and then, I found the water leaks. By then, everyone had enough of the cold and minor aggravations so all was put aside until the morning. I went to sleep cranky but hoping for a better day. 

Day two started with more frustrating attempts at getting back on Twitter and shutting off the water, drying wet areas with a large fan, and spraying them with mold deactivator. I continued to stress about what now seems as insignificant=>how I would join the Sunday chats that I frequent and co-moderate #NYEDChat on Monday night. Clearly, neither option was going to happen so I decided to try and relieve the "cranks" by shopping, a popular distractor for me. When I returned with packages in hand, I went back to tackling my problems that were still there in full force. Day two ended with no solution to any of the frustrating issues. Therefore, I had no time to blog or exercise.

Day three started bright and early on Monday morning with how do I get back on Twitter. I must have submitted a dozen tickets and sent them off to Twitter Support. Twitter colleagues were there supporting me along the way. I posted on the Ed Chat Moderators' site on Google+ and host William Jenkins called on a colleague to support me. Tom Whitby, aka Godfather of Twitter, suggested that I open a new account to get me through #NYEDChat. Julie Szaj sent a tweet to Twitter Support asking for help for me. Blanca Duarte, friend and co-moderator of NYEDChat, led me through a process of getting a new phone line so I could open a new account. My home and cell phone would not suffice because Twitter would not recognize them. Did you know that you can get a free phone line at Google Voice or that there is an incognito window on Chrome that you can use when having difficulties? Thanks to Blanca, I used this and voila! a new account opened. Mark Weston called me from Georgia to support me and provide some Connected Ed "Love". My NYEDChat co-moderators, Tony Sinanis, Starr Sackstein, Lisa Meade, and Dennis Schug were there for me as well. Then, I saw the sign for #GratitudeMonday". With faith on my side and support from my amazing connected colleagues, I created a digital inspiration and sent it off with tweets to show everyone that I was back on the positivity track. 

Not until I was half way through the day did I realize how important the spirit of resiliency is in life. A new plumber fixed the water leak in the kitchen. The laundry room sink would be dealt with later. I took giant steps outside my comfort zone with the Twitter restoration project jumpstarted by a hacker. Many of the steps taken were based on collegial support that I would have no clue on how to do independently. Best of all, I survived the experience. Feelings of frustration, stress, and loss were there but so were tenacity and faith. By Sunday night, I had a new Twitter account, a restored kitchen faucet, and a way to open NYEDChat whose topic, ironically enough, was #edvoice. Twitter Support even wrote to me that they would like to help out and with some adjustments to my password, my original @cvarsalona account opened. #GratitudeMonday came to a close with many thanks to all who supported me and renewed strength in the faith that guides me.

Today, Day four starts with the dilemma of how to merge new followers from @cvarsalona2015 to my global account and how to have the right Twitter account on my laptop and phone. I will tackle those issues in due time. 

As for the hacker or hackers on Twitter who produce spam, they are the invaders who dishonor community spirit. As one of my tweeps, Olwen (@notjustup2u) said in a DM to me: "We need to be vigilant together in this community and aware that not everyone has good intentions. We have no control over what they (spammers) choose to do but we can support each other to stop it where we can." 

Support and belief in the impossible are important as we continue to blaze the Twitter trails. Continue to join me in the Connected Educator movement to impact life and learning.

Please turn your attention to the Slice of Life Tuesday segment on Two Writing Teachers to read other educators' views.

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