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Status: HoaxI've been guilty of ignoring LonelyGirl15. For months I've been getting emails asking me whether or not she's real. I checked out her YouTube videos, and I'll admit that I found it hard to care whether or not she was real (maybe because I'm getting old), so I never posted about her. (Though there has been a thread in the forum about her for over a month.) But I evidently misjudged her appeal, because this week there have been hundreds of articles about her following the revelation that she was a fake.
For anyone who has somehow missed all the hoopla, LonelyGirl15 (aka Bree) was the screenname of a young woman posting confessional-style videos on YouTube. She was attractive and there was a good amount of drama in her life. (Always a winning formula.) A lot of the drama focused around tension with her extremely religious parents, especially since it was not clear what religion they were. Allusions to
Many people suspected LonelyGirl15 to be a fake. Some of her videos seemed too self-consciously amateur while others displayed professional editing touches.
The issue came to a head when internet sleuths linked the ip address of her emails to a Hollywood talent agency. Then, early in September, a message appeared on the LonelyGirl website from its "Creators" declaring that they were filmmakers and that the entire video blog series was fiction. Their identity remained unknown until a few days ago when LonelyGirl was revealed to be Jessica Rose, a 19-year-old graduate of the New York Film Academy, and "The Creators" were Ramesh Flinders and Miles Beckett.
So is there anything new or never-before-seen about the LonelyGirl hoax? Well, the fake confessional format certainly isn't new. Examples of that can be found as far back as the 18th century with Benjamin Franklin's Silence Dogood letters. Fake confessional blogs aren't new either. Remember the Plain Layne hoax from a few years back? The only novel aspect of LonelyGirl is that it's the first major fake blog in a video format. In other words, it's not all that new.
The other question is: Will people continue to be interested in LonelyGirl now that they know it's fiction. The LonelyGirl creators certainly hope so, but I'm not sure. People display very different attitudes towards what they believe to be real versus what they know to be false, and it's usually not easy for them to change their attitudes. Specifically, people tend to be forgiving of rough edges in reality, whereas they're more demanding of fiction. (Which is one of the reasons why Reality TV shows can get away with being so low-budget.) So now that they know LonelyGirl was fiction they may think back and say, 'Well, it wasn't really all that great.' However, if the story is good, the audience might stay.