This summer YouTube users have eagerly followed the story of lonelygirl15, a 16 year old home-schooled girl, and her friend Daniel. Since June the pair have posted a couple dozen short video clips that mix slice of life vignettes with a very thin plot line involving the girl’s eccentric family. It’s sort of like microwave reality TV. Except it’s not on TV. And it’s not real.
While the videos have found a willing audience, some having been viewed nearly a half million times, they’ve also create a mini-backlash among YouTube viewers who fear they’re deceived. I’m not sure which I find more unlikely, the fact that someone would believe the lonelygirl15 videos are actually produced by a 16 year-old with a webcam, or the possibility that viewers feel betrayed because a video they saw on YouTube turned out to be fictional. Hell, these days even television news isn’t alway real. Why should we hold YouTube to a higher standard?