An article on Mashable earlier today outlines a bunch of fake apps in TV shows that have been created IRL. While I’m torn between “that’s an awesome, slightly lazy 4 hour work week way to come up with an app idea” and “you guys clearly have too much time on your hands,” it got me thinking about other ways the line between fiction and reality have become blurred.
The first thing that popped to mind was a tweet I got last week from Aviato Inc.
— Aviato Inc (@AviatoInc) May 24, 2014
For those of you who haven’t been following along with me every week, Aviato Inc., is the company owned by the fictional Erlich Bachman on HBO’s Silicon Valley. In the tweet, Aviato is referencing a recent list I published on my own blog of men that I and two colleagues deemed the hottest guys in tech.
I responded with a reference to the most recent episode. Aviato brought @RealErlich into the conversation. RealErlich, of course, is the twitter account of the fictional founder of the fictional company Aviato. Pretty soon we were joined by @DineshChugtai, the real twitter account of another fictional character from the show.
@KinkAndCode I nominate myself, cuz y’know… I’m the Pakistani Denzel!
— Dinesh Chugtai (@DineshChugtai) May 24, 2014
I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Um, babe? Somehow I’ve gotten into Twitter conversations with ‘Dinesh’ and ‘Erlich?’” and he gave me a completely blank stare tinged with the slightest bit of WTF.
Here’s the weird thing, though…
I’m totally embarrassed to admit that I felt a twinge of the same excitement that I get when an actual (not fictional) famous or semi-famous person follows me or tweets me and when I started to think more about it, I kind of wondered: What’s the difference, really?
Now, obviously, yes, there’s a difference between real life people and a Twitter account set up by a fan with maybe a little too much time on his hands. (That’s just my assumption, by the way. I don’t actually know who runs these accounts, just that they’re “not affiliated with HBO.”) But, ultimately, most of the people I interact with on Twitter exist solely online for me. I can read their writing and see their tweets and even engage in little back and forths but, ultimately, their existence is in my computer, much like mine is for them.
Erlich and Aviato and Dinesh exist only on my computer as well and now, with these Twitter accounts, I can “talk” to “them.” They’re fully formed fictional characters and, if we’re being honest, aren’t we all these days? My online persona is a pretty carefully cultivated version of myself and while it’s not “fiction,” per say, it’s definitely different from the Emma my boyfriend sees every day in our apartment.
So where’s the line between fiction and reality?
Adding to the spinning in my head is the existence of an actual Pied Piper website, the landing page of which TechCrunch claims is better than the landing pages of many real startups. This fake company has a landing page and Twitter accounts for its team, including an account for a related company and it’s forcing me to come to terms with the un-reality of my day-to-day reality.
I just… I can’t. I’m going to close my computer and go sit in a dark room now.
Twitter | RealErlich