So long and thanks for all the phish
It had been going quite well recently. I’d incorporated TwitterQuest into the stand-up show I’ve been previewing for the Edinburgh Festival, which had generated quite a few new followers. After just seven months (not eight, as I mistakenly told the world just now… read on; I’ll explain), I had peaked at 2,287 Silent Witnesses. I was looking forward to seeing how many more I might accrue during the festival next month.
After a happy spot at a gig last night, compere Lewis Bryan (@lewisbryan) had kindly, and unasked, told the audience they really ought to find me on Twitter and follow me. They’d see why when they found my profile, he said. When I turned on my computer an hour or so ago, I was thrilled to see a couple of them actually had.
I went to the site and… HORROR!!! I saw this:
@@richardrycroft WHAAAAAAAAATTT??? You only tweeted! The world will surely end today!!!!!!!
I looked at the top of the page and saw the words:
YOUR TWEETS: 1
What?! How could this be? Could I have sent a tweet without realising? Was this the onset of dementia? Perhaps I sleep-tweeted?
No, the answer is simpler and more 21st Century than that. My account has been hacked. Someone today has sent this, in my name, to over 2,000 people:
A Real Diet, that Really Works! http://
Yes, I’ve deleted the address. I’m not giving them another chance to profit from me.
My apologies, of course, to everyone who received it. I suppose there’s an irony that the spam should have been advertising a diet. One person, a couple of months ago, did try to get me to tweet by sending a series of incredibly rude messages about what a “fat, ugly c***” I am, so maybe he’ll see this as a victory.
But I’m rather sad that it should have ended this way. I’ve been publicly quiet, but privately, I’ve enjoyed exchanging messages with a few of the people who signed up to this nonsense and seemed to enjoy the ridiculousness of it as much as I have. One person has regularly checked in to ask how it’s going, and to encourage me to continue doing nothing! Others, such as the brilliant comedian, James Acaster (@JamesAcaster) would occasionally taunt me with:
@richardrycroft tweet me back
@richardrycroft RYCROFT!!! COME ON!!!!
Ah… happy days…
Well, the silence has been broken, so TwitterQuest must end. It took me a few minutes to even work out how to do this, but about 20 minutes after the “spam diet” tweet, I finally sent my first actual one:
Dammit. Not only have I been hacked, I’ve had to find out how to send a tweet. Game’s over. Thanks to everyone for joining in. It was fun x
Even by then, my followers had dropped by about 30, and I absolutely agree with their actions. More have left since then, and I suspect I may now be watching the numbers fall with the same fascination which grabbed me while watching them rise.
I’ve received a wonderful series of messages from other people today, which prompted my next tweet, a two-parter because I haven’t mastered this 40 character thing yet; I’m very new to all this:
Thanks for the suggestions of deleting it – didn’t know you could do that – but it wouldn’t be honest. I peaked at 2,287 after 8 months…
… Many have left since the tweet. I’ll decide this week whether to delete the account
or actually use it for tweeting.
So, thank you for all the support; followers, RT-ers, ff-ers (see how I’ve picked up the lingo!) and others. Particularly those who took the trouble to sign up to Twitter just to follow me! It really was ridiculously enjoyable while it lasted. I can’t explain why, and that was part of its joy. If you want to stop following me now, I’ll completely understand. If you’d like to stay, you’d be more than welcome to do so. I can’t imagine I’ll be using Twitter very much anyway, so it’ll still be a semi-silence.
In the next few days, I’ll either set up a new account and tell everyone what that’s called, or I may just stick with this one and see what happens, so long as I don’t get hacked again, of course.
Just for fun, here’s my “Mentions” page from the time of the spam tweet until just before I posted this up:
Tweets mentioning @richardrycroft