Lonely Girl 15, An Ancient New Technique

I’m hooked on Lonely Girl15. It’s paving the way toward a new type of communication. The episodes are short with a minimalist yet engaging plot. There are four characters. Well, three with the disappearance of strange-eyed Gemma. But what’s really impressing me is the interaction between The Creators (yes, the producers refer to themselves as The Creators) and the audience. For awhile the show was averaging nearly 1,000 comments and peaked at 2,000.
Lonely Girl has become a huge community of people focused on the characters, their plight and their future.
Viewers empathize. They look for clues in the story, much like Losties do, following every detail of the dialog, action and scenery.
Just as importantly, they suggest to the creators future directions.
Lonely Girl has evolved with the help of viewers. Central character Bree started out as a doe-eyed silly teen talking to her stuffed animals. Then we find out she’s being pursued by members of The Order. Her friend, Daniel helps her escape. Her father is murdered in front of her and in the following show “What Dad Said,” she gives a riveting performance — just Bree talking to the camera. Talking to you, the viewer.
Keep in mind that the two creators produced Lonely Girl as “an experiment in storytelling.” Every show tells a story in 2-3 minutes and ends with a cliffhanger.
Yes, Lonely Girl is a fake whose exposure gained The Creators a ton of publicity in the traditional media. But you know what? It didn’t matter.
Some viewers treat the show as reality. The majority look at it as a good show in which they have some influence. Lonely Girl has created a huge, lively community in which viewers from young teens to college students and parents have discussions that are passionate, insightful, silly and savvy. They then disperse, gathering again when the next show is posted.
Now think donors, alumni, prospective students, constituents .
I wonder why we aren’t doing something like this? It’s a brilliant use of the Web! Old fashioned storytelling at its most stripped-down and powerful with the added dimension of viewer interaction.
More in the next post.


5 responses to “Lonely Girl 15, An Ancient New Technique

  1. I’ve been thinking about the art of storytelling as I look to redesign a department website. Thanks for the pointer, I’m off to look now.

  2. I agree that the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon is truly amazing. I have been hooked since I heard about it, even before people knew she was “fake,” and honestly, while viewers expressed their disappointment that this was merely a new form of fictitious story-telling, the fact remains that they were still expressing SOMETHING–still watching, still interacting, and still CARING–and that amazed me.

    From a marketing standpoint, I was absolutely intrigued by the idea that this is the future of marketing communication. We’ve always known the impact of emotional involvement in terms of getting our audience to respond and take action, but technology has allowed us to create virtual worlds, like that of Lonelygirl15, that bring forth an entirely new dimension to that involvement. I love this stuff, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for our field.

  3. Pingback: This American Life & The Great American Stories « The Higher Ed Marketing Blog

  4. Hi, i’m an italian blogger. We’re speaking about Bree, the lonely girl. You’re invited to visit our website. It’s a community dedicated to “NewTalents for entertainment”
    visit us at http://www.showfarm.com/showfarmblog/

  5. Thanks for the information. Great site!

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