A series that changed YouTube and the Internet will be 10 years old.
Do you remember Lonelygirl15? In the summer of 2006, YouTube was in its infancy and vloggers were the new thing, sharing their daily lives on YouTube, for all to see.
One of those bloggers was a user named Lonelygirl15. She started posting on June 16, 2006. Right from the start, she was getting great audience numbers (videos would get between 50,000 and 100,000 views). But then, two weeks later, one of the videos really hit the mark and she started getting half a million views per videos.
But viewers started wondering who she was and if she was real. After a few months, in September, press coverage started linking her to the CAA talent agency.
Behind the scenes, the series was scripted by a small team of writers, and the characters were played by unknown actors.
Even though the secret got out after a few months, the series would continue for 2 years. After the reveal, it still attracted a large audience and also attracted brands. One deal they made with Neutrogena even landed enough money to shoot an entire season of the series!
Would a team of writers and directors be able to pull this off in 2016? Unfortunately not. People do not trust YouTube the way they did 10 years ago. And it gets more and more difficult to hide your tracks when publishing content.
Today, authenticity is key.
Not that Lonelygirl15 was not authentic, it was seen more as a game to see how long they would be able to pull this off. Audiences expect a real, authentic dialogue with brands and creators. Keep this in mind at all times.
The Guardian published a great long-form article that revisits the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon, meeting with its creators and actors 10 years later. A definite worthwhile read to reminisce the Internet that was in 2006, how it has changed, and what forged the platforms and audiences we have today.