The Lonely Girl who really wasn’t

The development of Internet communication, specifically, social media has expanded the traditional notion of identity. Now, it is possible to craft online identities in addition to those in real life. These online personas can shape people’s interpersonal perceptions towards individuals in the real world.

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Original Meme

In 2006, ‘Lonelygirl15’ established a YouTube channel, on which, she posted regular vlogs. Bree, who featured in the videos, was a teenage girl who lived a seemingly normal life. It soon became evident that she was perhaps, lonely and bored, hence the creation of Lonleygirl15. The youtube channel and vlogs gained a massive international following and became extremely popular, in a seemingly short amount of time. Bree had become one of YouTube’s youngest and most popular stars. She reinforced this popularity, starting her own forum and myspace account.

However, after gaining a mass following, it was revealed that Bree and Lonelygirl15 were, in fact, fictional and the channel and videos were produced by a number of writers and actors. Fans, YouTubers and the media alike, had been duped by an artificial online persona, who, projected online, the parts of her life that the writers wanted viewers to see.

Is this so different to what we do each day when posting on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat? We post, often times, edited images of the most exciting parts of our lives, leaving out the mundane occurrences, in order to create the perception we want surrounding our name, image and brand.

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9 thoughts on “The Lonely Girl who really wasn’t

  1. Hi,
    I have chosen a really typical example of online persona to write about. The “Lonelygirl15′ channel was very popular and although it was fictional, its effects on people, especially the young, was real. Young people nowadays seem to wanna escape the real life and try to build a positive image about themselves on online platforms. When they see someone famous and become an online model, they have the sense of being jealousy and also wanna try to be perfect like that.
    It is good that you link the example about “Lonelygirl15” to our behaviours now, what we often do and consider as normal on Facebook, Instagram,…
    The only point that I suggest you should improve is you can add hyperlinks to your post so that it is easier for readers to get a deeper insight into the examples you illustrate.
    Here is an article about the difference between offline and online personalities that I think can help for your further arguments: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/sep/24/online-offline-personality-digital-identity
    Overall, great post!

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  2. I love your meme! And what you have talked about is exactly how I see it. I look at people on Facebook and Instagram that are ‘famous’ and my first thought that it is all fake and they only show you what they want to be perceived as but this week it has occurred to me that we all do it. It may not be to the extent as some people but we all pick and choose what we want people to see. If you want to do more research look up the term ‘micro celebrity’ and especially on YouTube there is some great content on it and they talk a lot about self branding. Here is a link to my blog for this week about Micro Celebrity: https://ti371.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/the-micro-celebrity/ Great blog!

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  3. Really cool to see you transfer #bcm110 content/knowledge and find relevance in #bcm112 – I think that goes to show your undoubtable interest and engagement in the material which is really awesome to see. The whole concept of the ‘Lonelygirl15’ channel in relation to our every day lives, and associated postings on social media platforms, goes to show how we want to be perceived in society, (or how our brand is shown). Your ‘aesthetic’ on Instagram is different to your one on Facebook, and different to twitter, etc. etc. however they all show an aspect of ourselves; and overall contribute to our ‘personal brand’. I know for a fact that my respective social media accounts are all different in their own right, however they all show an aspect of my personality in some sort of way. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jul/05/why-you-should-step-away-from-the-online-you –> This article has an interesting way of looking at online and offline personas, and how the two should be separated – give it a read for a different perspective. Nice work Shaneese xox

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  4. This was really cool to read. I had no idea about lonelygirl15 and her existence just reinforces the growing feeling of mistrust many people experience today as we learn more and more about social media presence and its implications. To ‘catfish’ someone is similar to this as lonelygirl15 has created a fake online persona that has lured in a huge following of people, mainly because they initially believed her to be real. It is one of those things that occurs commonly on dating websites today. I have had a personal experience with a catfisher when my best-friends profile picture was used on a fake account by a complete stranger. This was really creepy and it raises questions about how personal our information is anymore once it is in the public forum; we lose complete control of it and our identity becomes distorted because our personal images are available for anyone to save and re-upload.
    I think it is interesting how people are going to such lengths in order to craft a ‘mask’ different from their true self. The ridiculousness of this is captured in this video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPOEmHczkCw. It also reveals how easy it is to ‘catfish’ someone e.g. the ‘my webcam camera is broken’ speech.
    I really did enjoy reading your post, you describe and explain the lonelygirl15 case and leave time for questioning how different this is to what goes on today – and to answer that, it is no different, as seen through my ‘catfish’ example. You do this all while being concise and to the point. Only suggestion would be to include another example, maybe one where another party has been closely affected by fake online personas e.g. this article has some good examples and reference points: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-michele/i-was-catfished-and-this-_b_8038868.html
    Thanks for instigating this rant 🙂

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