Originally posted on Tonight's Healthy Scratches  |  Last updated 7/10/12

If you're an avid fan of getting your news, whether it be sports-related or otherwise, via Twitter, you've undoubtedly come across the numerous fake accounts that spew rumors at the speed of, well, sight.

These cretons, who apparently have nothing better to do with their time, continuously announce fake news citing unnamed sources that don't exist, providing rabid Twitter users with all the ammunition they need to recreate the Vancouver riots in the virtual realm.

False reports have dominated this year's free agent season in the NHL, with Ryan Suter having apparently landed in Detroit, Zach Parise in Pittsburgh, and Alex Semin, well, everywhere so far.

The fact is, anyone can throw a bunch of paint at a canvas and call it art. In fact, long-time Rangers fan and writer Greg Caggiano decided to have some fun with the all stupid people out there. Not-so-shockingly, as it turns out, there are a lot of them.

Late last night, Caggiano tweeted, like many others had before him, that not only was a deal that would bring Rick Nash to New York imminent, but that it was completed:

#CONFIRMED New York Rangers Acquire Rick Nash from #CBJ #DONEDEAL #NYRtinyurl.com/7w9c7wu

— Greg Caggiano (@GregCaggiano) July 10, 2012

You could imagine the reaction of hundreds, maybe even thousands of Rangers fans, couldn't you?

"Oh my God! This is breaking news! Quick, click the link! Who'd they trade for him? Somebody help me! I need an adult! I need an adult!"

Trouble is, the link in that article was not a news story explaining the details of a trade that would shake up the landscape of the Eastern Conference. Rather it was a link to Caggiano's personal blog, and an entry titled "A Great Social Experiment with NHL Trades on Twitter." There, Caggiano gives step-by-step instructions on how he shook the masses into a frenzy with just a few short hashtags. Embedded between his sinister laughs and retweets of people both hating him and loving him for his actions, is a lesson for all of us:

"So, why did I do this? To give fans high blood pressure? To bask in the attention? No, just to prove a point that no one on Twitter can be trusted except for the people who actually work for real sports outlets, and if something is too good to be true, like a 21-year-old blogger with no aspirations of being a sports journalist and just writing as a hobby, breaking the biggest trade of the year before TSN, it’s probably not."

Perhaps the most diabolic part of his plan, was that just minutes before that tweet, with several others in his timeline hinting at a deal coming in mere moments, he dropped this little hint that he was totally full of crap, and just playing with everyone's emotions:

Yes, War of the Worlds. Great flick. Especially the Orson Welles RADIO broadcast. Classic. Had people talking for a loooooooong time.

— Greg Caggiano (@GregCaggiano) July 10, 2012

Yeah, that one fell mostly on deaf ears at the time, but it was a good one nonetheless. Perhaps those worked up into such a haze put their blinders on to anything not Nash-related until there was a resolution that would quench their thirsts for fake information.

"People may hate me for this, but that is their prerogative, as at least I was comfortable enough to release this was an experiment. Then again, what if Nash actually did get traded the next day? I would be a genius, immediately vaulted to the top of the rumor totem pole. If I was wrong, I could immediately flip just like everyone else does and say that family matters came into the equation, or something in the deal changed at the last moment and the entire thing fell through, and that there are now five obvious teams still in the running for said player. Either way, I hope this is a wake up call to all those who fancifully waste their lives following these people on Twitter. Thanks for the laugh, everyone!"

Nicely done, Greg. You've shown us just how easy it is to become someone Eklund, Incarcerated Bob or HockeyInsiderr, and also why we should avoid them like they've got the Bubonic Plague. We'll continue to stick with the Darren Dregers and Bob McKenzies of the world.

Click here to read Caggiano's full entry.

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