There’s no escaping the similarities between the lonelygirl15 saga and the plot of William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition. From the Washington Post:

“The plot [of Pattern Recognition] centers on mysterious bits of video posted anonymously on the Internet. The shadowy black-and-white videos, called “the footage,” appear to feature a pair of lovers and hint deliciously at a larger, magnetically compelling story. The footage inspires a cultish following on the Web, including chat rooms, parodies and investigations — just like those created around lonelygirl15 — and the novel’s hero is dispatched by an advertising wizard to track down the filmmakers so the phenomenon can be monetized.”

The Wikipedians have done an excellent job of telling the unfolding story of lonelygirl15. It seems to have come to an end for now with a series of public admissions that it was staged, although the scene is set for it to develop more into an ARG.

Gibson blogs chaotically and confusingly, but he’s noticed the Post’s piece likening lonelygirl15 to his book.

I had a few thoughts on Pattern Recognition the first time around, when I realised the ideas in the book wouldn’t go away.

I have to admit lonelygirl15 thing has creeped me out a bit. It made me realise how manipulative compelling storytelling can be in a networked environment. Perhaps it’s because as Gibson himself has said, “Emergent technology is, by its very nature, out of control, and leads to unpredictable outcomes.”

I think we’re just seeing the beginnings of a new form of art and/or business.

Benkler’s Wealth of Networks

I’ve got a review of Yochai Benkler’s book The Wealth of Networks

in todays Financial Times Magazine. Since the FT website doesn’t let you comment, I’d be interested to know what other people who’ve read it think.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

“There is, of course, something perverse about the fact that perhaps the best work yet about the fast-moving, enthusiast-driven internet has taken an academic 10 years to write and is printed on 528 pages of dead tree. But perhaps the interesting social production happens post-publication. The book is released under a Creative Commons licence so you can download it free from his website ( and Benkler has given readers all manner of collaborative tools to discuss the book and take the ideas forward. You’ll want a hard copy to thumb through, though. This is an important book.”

The full review is here.