A couple of weeks ago now I had the opportunity to help someone in a situation that they felt was there may have been no real solution for in the end. They had exhausted their options and had followed the path to a solution that was the one just about everyone would have taken. They did everything they could to resolve the issue, and weren’t getting anywhere.
A friend of mine, Howard Bienstock, had his twitter account hijacked by spammers and they were using it and taking advantage of his significant list of followers. As of right now, Howard has just over 24,000 twitter followers and they were all getting useless, false and annoying twitter updates from this spammer. They had already setup a new twitter account thinking they would never regain control over their original.
Howard founded OneDegreeConnected.com and is an ultimate business networking machine! Howard’s goose laying the golden eggs is his network and the integrity of his name and that same network. These spammers were getting ready to roast that bird and serve it with SPAM for dinner.
What did I really do to help Howard in this situation?
I don’t have any real special powers. I’m not some amazing security analyst who knows how to work around security problems. I don’t know how to hack into someone’s twitter account and gain back control of everything. So what did I really do?
I took the time to be as helpful as I could and tried to capitalize on my own network to see if I could get anywhere.
I knew the key was to try and get in touch with someone that worked at twitter directly. The problem was that all the standard operating procedures for resolving an issue like this with twitter results in automated steps being performed via email. The spammers had hijacked the account and changed the email address associated with the account. Any validation efforts were going to the spammers for approval, which they would ignore or immediately reject.
I sent out a few tweets of my own to see if anyone in my network might know someone. A couple of people responded. One I expected and one I didn’t. In the end, it was the connection from the person I didn’t expect that go the solution worked out. It worked out quickly at that, within about 5 hours from start to finish from my time getting involved and trying to help.
What did I really do? What did it take to fix the situation?
All I had to do was show an interest in the problem and make the initial contact and ask how I could help. Sometimes being helpful just means just being willing to do what you can and get out of the way. You don’t have to be an expert in something and you don’t have to claim any special amount of "magic" or mystery in getting the problem fixed.