As I’ve been dipping into YouTube lately – I had encountered this account – “Lonelygirl15” was showing in all the most viewed listings as well as viewer favourites.  It seems now that she is a fiction and the whole thing has been a marketing plan to develop interest in a new approach to interactive storytelling – in someways, LonelyGirl15 can be framed as an online soap.  But the difference is that this was presented to all intents and purposes as a real person posting about her life. 

A friend of mine did a M.Ed project last year looking at online soap and created Cleo Missing.  This project was clealry a construction and sought to explore some possibilities of cyber soap. But the LATimes story on LonelyGirl15 suggests that this as a deliberate attempt to mislead.

Mystery Fuels Huge Popularity of Web’s Lonelygirl15

The videos are a hit on YouTube, but some wonder if the teen’s posts are real or a marketing ploy.
By Richard Rushfield and Claire Hoffman, Times Staff Writers
September 8, 2006
Lonelygirl15 appears to be an innocent, home-schooled 16-year-old, pouring her heart out for her video camera in the privacy of her bedroom. But since May, her brief posts on the video-sharing site YouTube and the social networking hub MySpace have launched a Web mystery eagerly followed by her million-plus viewers: Who is this sheltered ingenue who calls herself “Bree,” and is she in some sort of danger — or, worse, the tool of some giant marketing machine?

This is followed up by another article at the LATimes where LonelyGirl15 admits the deception.

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