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June 29, 2004

Just Goes To Show You Don't Know ANYONE Online

A blogger pulled a nasty hoax on her fans. Or should I say, his fans.

"Plain Layne" attracted thousands of daily visitors towards the end of the days of "her poignant and brutally honest diary of her life." One day, her blog went *poof,* and her fans wondered what had happened to her.

They were understandably floored when they learned that "Layne" was really Odin Soli, "a 35-year old male entrepreneur and writer, married with two children" who created Layne as "an experiment in 'interactive fiction.' "

"Layne's" fans are left feeling angry, confused, and in some cases respectful of a well-engineered con. Some want to give "Layne" a piece of their mind. "Layne" revealed very personal details, including a rape that "led her to re-examine her sexual identity and become a lesbian." Soli kept readers and commenters in the dark for three and a half years. His deception was "more sophisticated because it exploited the social aspects of Web logs, which allow readers to interact with authors by posting comments directly onto their diary entries."

There are even pictures of "Layne." Soli won't identify the woman, but says she was fully aware of what he was doing.

It just goes to show you that you never really know who is at the other end of that blog you like to read so much. I assure my readers that my name really is Trish Wilson and that I am a woman, but you really don't know me, do you? evil_smiley.gif

So, bloggers, the joke's on you.

Posted on June 29, 2004 at 09:03 AM | Permalink


I knew a guy who used to do things like this on newsgroups. He'd create a character and "work the marks". He reinvented himself constantly. I wouldn't be surprised if he's taken it up on a blog somewhere. (It's not this guy, though)

He thought it was great fun, and proof of how stupid other people were. He would also use it to get out of things. He'd post incredibly mean things and then say it was just "an in-character thing" and deny he ever meant it.

Most of us just got bored with him.

Posted by: LC at Jul 1, 2004 5:14:59 PM

could be college kids doing research about blogs and bloggers. online journalism with a 'live' perspective. As the internet becomes more sophisticated, so must the bloggers in identifying whom is on the other end. Harvard students?, bored house wifes/husbands, people with several personalities, or people learning the customs of other peoples. Under the Patriot Act everyone must report even the slightest online suspicious activity. Hmm... online jounralism. Could put the newspapers out of business in the future.

Posted by: widden at Jul 27, 2004 1:36:14 AM

going to have to try a bit harder to knock off pen-elayne, Now tell me, Trish, What does pen-elayne have thats so....interestingly valuable?

Pen-Elayne on the Web (B$506.70)
Trish Wilson's Blog (B$177.37)
archy (B$118.86)
Catalyst (B$88.78)
Make me a Commentator (B$87.34)
correnteWire (B$85.37)
All Facts and Opinions (B$84.91)
Rubber Hose (B$66.23)
Make me a Commentator!!! (B$62.46)
Dohiyi Mir (B$60.07)

Posted by: widden at Jul 27, 2004 2:06:04 AM