Friday, September 08, 2006

Building reality online (the lonelygirl15 meme)

I am not a big fan of video sites so today was the first day I heard about lonelygirl15. She is a very famous video blogger with videos seen a total of about 2 million times. The interesting thing is that she does not actually exist. She is part of an art project intent on doing something like a wiki soap:

Thank you so much for enjoying our show so far. We are amazed by the overwhelmingly positive response to our videos; it has exceeded our wildest expectations. With your help we believe we are witnessing the birth of a new art form. Our intention from the outset has been to tell a story-- A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience.

Even if people lose interest now that they know she is not real, the fact was that they were drawn into her fabricated life. Is this ethically correct ?
I guess what I am getting at is that we are getting better at creating virtual reality. The truth is what the majority of people perceive to be true, the wiki kind of truth. This is already the case in physical reality with mass media having a strong effect on what is actually perceived. What I think is that this manipulation of masses and crowd effects are much stronger online.