OMG! The unmasking-of-the-Lonelygirl15-phenomenon phenomenon

Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 04:22 pm
Or: "OMG OMG! That's like, so totally, like, WRONG!!"


I'm only just dipping into the whole weirded-out YouTube community phenomenon with all its video replies to video replies to video blogs to...

So I'd never heard of "lonelygirl15". But what a weird trip this is. Not homegirl herself - but all the stuff in response to it. Funny stuff for if you've got time to waste. You gotta see some of these videos below! especially the bravesgirl5 and renetto ones Very Happy


So first, background: "lonelygirl15"? First I heard was when I was sitting in the coffeehouse reading The Guardian like a good would-be intellectual:

Cult blog a fake, admit 'lonelygirl' creators

Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Saturday September 9, 2006
The Guardian

A series of videos showing a 16-year-old girl opining about life, relationships, planets, cookies and religion from the orderly confines of her bedroom somewhere in smalltown America has become the pop culture hit of the summer.

The short video blog postings by lonelygirl15 on the YouTube website have attracted millions of viewers since they started appearing in May. But the postings' polished nature and the intriguing inconsistencies in the stories led many to suspect that lonelygirl15 was fake.

"Bree", the "girl" in the videos, appears older than 16. One in particular, in which she goes swimming with her friend Daniel, resembles a pop video more than a blog.

Some bloggers suggested she was part of a viral marketing campaign for a film or computer game, the successor to that used to promote the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project.

Yesterday her "creators" came clean, admitting the site was fake. In a posting on lonelygirl15.com labelled "A message from the creators", the unnamed makers of the videos adopted a more conventional entertainment industry tone. "Thank you for enjoying our show so far. We are amazed by the overwhelmingly positive response to our videos; it has exceeded our wildest expectations."

They went on to address some of the speculation about the videos: were they promoting a film or a reality TV show? Was some corporate behemoth behind the venture? And who the heck is lonelygirl15 anyway? According to the creators, the enterprise is far larger than any of that.

"With your help we believe we are witnessing the birth of a new art form," they wrote. On the question of lonelygirl15's identity, the creators attempted to invest her with everyman qualities.

"Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone. She is no more real or fictitious than the portions of our personalities that we choose to show (or hide) when we interact with the people around us."

But there were signs that the admission that the site is a fake and the pretensions of the "creators" could backfire. In attempting to harness the interactive power of an online community there is a danger that consumers may decide they do not like being fooled.

The first posted response to the statement came from Alissa Brooke, a blogger who has hosted a forum on the lonelygirl15 phenomenon. She simply wrote: "Well, that's no fun any more."

The identity of the creators of lonelygirl15 remains a mystery. In their statement they claim to be film makers, not computer programmers, adding: "We want you to know that we aren't a big corporation. We are just like you."

But internet sleuths have established that emails sent by lonelygirl15 came from the powerful Creative Artists Agency in Hollywood, and that lonelygirl15 was registered as a trademark by a California lawyer two weeks ago.


There are "signs that the admission that the site is a fake .. could backfire", the Guardian's intrepid LA reporter wrote. Well, now we know more about the response.

This here is bravesgirl5 - who must also hail from Southern California -

and she is pissed!!

And yes, she will read out the whole post from "the creators" (not always effortlessly).. because, like, it was breaking news, you know (and we cant just read it ourselves, obviously). But keep listening to her interjecting remarks Cool -->>

[01:27]"Oh really! You didnt think we figured that out, did ya?! <low whisper> bitches..</low whisper> [..]

[02:53]OK! We're not getting "paid", dude <makes quotation mark gesture with fingers>.

You.. deceived us, that is no way to pay us for our effort.

And - you know ... it just sucks - because there's so many people who made video responses - including me, but I deleted that <waving gesture>! But there's so many people who made video responses to lonelygirl's videos - everything - and, you know what, they're gonna feel stupid now, because they got caught up in the drama and you know what

- <swallows> -

you cant do that to somebody!

Priceless Laughing


OK, so now... this being the internet... bravesgirl5 is a phenomenon. Her response stands at 185,087 views and 974 comments.

And: 42 video responses to bravesgirl's video response to lonelygirl's makers.

Obviously, people (like me, and you reading this) have waaay too much time on their hands. The whole thing is hilarious though. Check, first of all, this dude, with the best parody of the lot (now standing at 93,000+ views itself):

Renetto: LonelyGirl15 is a FAKE...!!!

Others who caught bravegirl's "outing" of the lonelygirl scandal could only respond wordlessly, doing within 52 seconds what's only left to do..

Panic spreads - who is real? Who is not? 45 year old Kenrg from Santa Cruz is real

One "VideoViper" did a clever "Scandal" imitation movie trailer, a "4QFilms" did an imitation "all revealed" showbizz news item.

While meanwhile, Renetto's video response to bravegirl's videoresponse to lonelygirl's makers has... 47 video responses. (What did you think I was going to say?)

Basically, the narcissistic generation of new internet nerds seem to have invented the perpetuum mobile after all. (A page like that with all those thumbnail pics of the makers is in itself something of a social art project).

And yes, apart from these parodies, there are, in fact, dozen after dozen of heartfelt and serious expressions of anger at the lonelygirl fake and discussions of what it all means, and what YouTubers in turn think of how all those other YouTubers have reacted and..

Its up to an, err.. thumb-like thingie to talk sense.


Back to nimh..

OK, so -- like, I'm just, like --you know, I mean -- what? Shocked

Who are all these people?


Fascinating Laughing
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Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 04:29 pm
That plus a thing I read about Facebook in the NYT today makes me think that some kinda bubble of some sort is about to burst.

"Because our generation has been so obsessed with putting themselves up on the Internet and obsessed with celebrity, we didn't realize how much of our personal information we were putting out there," said Tim Mullowney, a 22-year-old aspiring actor in Brooklyn and a Facebook user. "This really shows you how much is out there. You don't see it until you get it served on a platter to you."

Mr. Mullowney said the Facebook episode had opened his eyes to a surprising conclusion: "I don't need to know every little detail of everyone's life."

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Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 05:02 pm
Ha! Thats interesting.

I dunno if its a foreboding of the bubble going to burst though. The irony in that Facebook story is, as the reporter pointed out near the end, that the reason that outrage over the new feature spread so fast and led to such quick and massive protest and action -- is that everyone got to know about it, and about other members' reactions to it, through the new feature. Cool

So in a way, you can argue that this consumer protest of sorts, which seems at first sight like an "upset" that would temporarily halt the trend, was in itself at the same time actually taking the trend a step further again. Magnifying the scope in which the users of the site "networked" as a community thats constantly updated about what other users are saying, feeling and doing about it. I wouldnt be surprised if it in the end gave the members a stronger feeling they were somehow, you know, part of this Facebook thing - like the grumblings and petitions against Abuzz's change and demise at least initially only made people feel more like "Abuzzers".

Other, more pedestrian reason I'm sceptical is that it sounds like the Facebook managers had just been sloppy. If their newly discovered solution is "a page of privacy options that allow .. members to opt out of the .. feature, or to shield specific bits of their lives from public" then they've just not been paying attention. Eg on MySpace you can already determine per blog that you post whether it will be public, or only viewable to your MySpace friends, or only viewable to a smaller "Family" selection still that you can set yourself. You can set similar privacy options for your photos and even choose to make your whole profile blank for anyone but friends.

What I'm thinking re that is that its more of a thing of the industry/culture renewing and updating itself as it develops further than something that will trip up the development in itself. You could even argue that these networking sites (and the culture that comes with them) have better odds of reinventing themselves continually enough to stay on the crest than the software behemoths of yore had, because users' feedback is instantly heard and amplified and can be acted on within days. When Microsoft added an annoying feature to Office, or a whole new side to it that nobody wanted, it would only become aware of users (dis)satisfaction through the corporare screening of email, phone and contact forms - and anyway, it could just leave any changes till the next new version two years on because where else were Word users going to go?

The Facebook type execs on the other hand can act on the fly at any sign that something is wrong -- so arguably would be better able to keep the site rolling and popular throughout - and by extension the same could be said about the whole culture around it as well. The organisation of it might change over time with workarounds and safety features imbedded in, but I dont see kids getting bored or turning away from it altogether... perhaps more like pop music? After the first explosion of this specific mass youth culture with rock 'n' roll in the 50s, the type of music and entertainment changed every decade - from Elvis to the Beatles to the Sex Pistols to warehouse raves - but the concept and reality of pop culture was there to stay..

<looks up> Or, well, something like that! Laughing
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Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 06:56 pm
ok, so like, debacle sent this lil thing, and so, i like figgered out it'd be on YouTube, and then like, I figgered it was already here somewhere so I 'searched' Blair and YouTube and got this thread, so i'm like, totally, throwing this in here

So, like, this is dedicated to the one I love. Habibi, you know it's gotta be you.

Cool :wink: Cool
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Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 10:12 pm
ehBeth wrote:
ok, so like, debacle sent this lil thing, and so, i like figgered out it'd be on YouTube, and then like, I figgered it was already here somewhere so I 'searched' Blair and YouTube and got this thread, so i'm like, totally, throwing this in here

So, like, this is dedicated to the one I love. Habibi, you know it's gotta be you.

Cool :wink: Cool

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Reply Sun 10 Sep, 2006 11:57 pm
I've been hanging out at YouTube a bit myself, amid all the fluff, and the multitude of downright stupid crap there are some really cool videos. The site has definitely been dominated by Lonleygirl/Re:Lonleygirl lately...those and what seems to be a million clips from BB7, which I'm guessing is Big Brother season seven...jeez, has that show been on that long.

I despise reality tv, so none of that really appeals to me....I long for the day when all this sensationalism burns itself out....but I did watch a few of Lonleygirl clips just to see what the hub bub was all about....didn't really change my life any. It's sad that so many people invested so much of themselves in whether or not Lonleygirl was an actual teenager, an actress, or whatever...it's a wonder this story didn't make the National News...I wonder what Katie Couric thinks about the whole thing.

The video with the kid that took his picture everyday for six years is the one I'm concerned about..if you watch it, his eyes look identical in each shot, as everything else is shifting and phasing around him...a bit hypnotical. I'll bet anything Levi's, Coke, and Radio Shack backed that one, because after I watched it, I sucked down a two liter bottle of Coke, drove to Penny's and bought a pair of Levi's, then bought a battery tester from Radio Shack..that I didn't even need.
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Reply Mon 11 Sep, 2006 04:03 am
ehBeth wrote:
ok, so like, debacle sent this lil thing, and so, i like figgered out it'd be on YouTube, and then like, I figgered it was already here somewhere so I 'searched' Blair and YouTube and got this thread, so i'm like, totally, throwing this in here

So, like, this is dedicated to the one I love. Habibi, you know it's gotta be you.

Cool :wink: Cool

Ha ha ha ha!

Thats some pretty brilliant editing of the lip sync ...

its even better than this already pretty hilarious lip syncing of Bush and Blair to, err, another song...
0 Replies
Dorothy Parker
Reply Mon 11 Sep, 2006 04:08 am
I am lonelygirl.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 11 Sep, 2006 10:25 am
I am lonelygirl.
0 Replies

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