Some day I’ll get bored of watching this train wreck in progress. But not yet. If you are, you can skip right over this post and rest in the knowledge that you’re more mature than I am.
Remember last week when Clinical Reader had only threatened a blogger, been exposed as having made up endorsements, started making up bogus Retweets, deleted incriminating tweets from their account, fired the pesky Canadians, and generally convinced thousands of people that they weren’t trustworthy? Since then, thing haven’t improved. Since then:
- Whoever is trying to sanitize Clinical Reader’s online reputation (I assume it’s co-founder Allan Marks, but who knows) has been switching the original twitter account’s name at the speed of light. This breaks links that people had used in blog posts, but it unfortunately doesn’t erase the history from the deep dark recesses of the Internet, or delete people’s screenshots from their hard drives. Most of the good stuff is still live on the links in my previous post, and even more lives in this post on the Disruptive Library Technology Jester. (Moral of the story: Don’t be stupid online because the stupid never dies.) As of this writing the account has moved from @clinicalreader to @clinical_tweets to @amarks7 to @amarks14 to @amarks_ to @a_marks1 to @allan_marks (See below for explanation of the change in the first two names. And don’t expect @allan_marks to be valid for more than, say, an hour. As of 7pm, the name has changed 4 times since 9am today.)
- Somebody took over the name @clinicalreader and posted a brief history of the debacle there.
- Somebody else took over @clinical_tweets (they claim to be the fired Canadians) and started cockily claiming that they’d done the job they were hired to do because just look at how many people now know about Clinical Reader. Their claim in a nutshell: “You’ve All Been Used. Bwahahahah.” They’ve now killed the account.
- A new twitter account went live: @clinical_reader. This had all sorts of tweets about how the real Clinical Reader wasn’t yet “officially” on Twitter but will let us all know when they are (this screencast from the Google Cache shows that if you hovered over an older version of the Clinical Reader site, it clearly linked to the original @clinicalreader twitter account). Then tweeted several rather official looking tweets about what a great service they are. Then denounced the other now-bogus accounts. And all of this while not officially tweeting! This morning, all their tweets had disappeared except for the ones saying that the tweets from @cliniclareader are not coming from the Clinical Reader service (which even whoever-it-is at @clinicalreader says, quite plainly).
- Another new twitter account went live: @clinical_tweet. This seems to be the new, new, new official twitter account. Or something. We’ll see how long it lasts.
- And now, the sockpuppetry really gets started. “Sally Jones” started a twitter account as @kensingtonlib in order to alternately level accusations at @lukelibrarian and laud Clinical Reader. I wonder who could possibly be using the name Sally Jones??
This is just too much fun. I’ll update this post if necessary (and add screenshots that I have on a different computer, later).
[Edit: 7pm on July 20th. I think I'm done now. If you haven't had enough, search FriendFeed for "Clinical Reader" and see if more drama has surfaced. I'll just add that I've been almost equally fascinated by the complexity of piecing together a coherent story when that story is playing out in so many social networks, by the flailing about of Clinical Reader, by the lessons this teaches about marketing online, and by the implications of this story in my own teaching. I think I'll have to work some discussion of this parable into sessions I teach about evaluating web content.]