Around here, we call them “The Devoted”.
It’s a term that got started as a joke a long time ago, when Maddy got her first ‘Break Up Letter’ from a Psychiatrist on behalf of someone she had never met before.
The letter itself is long gone, but it said something to the effect of “Dear Ms. Madison, this letter is to inform you that my patient John Doe has chosen to no longer maintain a relationship with you thru your web site. Mr. Doe would like you to know that this decision is not personal, and wishes you well.”
It was the first of two letters we would receive from Psychiatrists and Therapists in our first 10 years of running the site. These two, among the stacks of weird devotion letters, marriage proposals and the increasingly weird gifts that show up unannounced at our door.
Among these ‘tributes’ has been a pair of condoms filled with semen, tied off at the end with bows. We got a sticky Wendy’s napkin from someone who got “inspired” while in the restaurant and I guess really couldn’t wait to get home. As creepy as they are, these ‘gifts’ are meant to say “look what you made me do”. A ‘tribute’.
I didn’t know how creepy it actually is until our recent trip to Atlanta, where Maddy was telling a room full of big name Porn Stars some of the random things she gets in the mail.
“What are some of the weird things you guys get?”
“Uh, yeah… people don’t really send me stuff.”
”Yeah, me either.”
”You have some fucked up fans.”
And I’m in the middle of this conversation just shocked. We were working with some heavy hitters. Chicks who have fan bases that literally dwarf our ‘following’ in size and scope. Seriously… WTF?
The difference is “The Devoted”.
It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out what we’re doing here. It’s “The Truman Show of Porn”, or it’s a fucked up version of “Sims” or “Wizard of Oz”.
See, for over 10 years now, Maddy (Marie Madison) has been playing ‘Virtual Girlfriend’ with the entire world. While it looks like she’s filming everything from her roll play sex fantasies to her business meetings, what you are actually watching is an ‘enhanced’ version of reality. It’s enhanced for entertainment value, an exaggerated version of what be sexier, sluttier, or just plain funnier.
In 2000, this was happening on VHS Tape and hand written letters thru the mail. If you’re over 30 you might remember ‘Thru the Mail’ interactive games like Diplomacy that was popular in the 80’s & 90’s. Like that, but involving ass sex and deep throat blowjobs. By 2005, VHS gave way to DVD and the internet had this ‘Enhanced Reality’ spilling over into Social Networks, Dating Profiles and what would eventually become the ‘Play Place Network’ of web sites.
It’s all combined and linked together, with the sites and the blogs, and the ‘Tweets’ and the Youtube videos… it all follows the same story line, like a 24 / 7 ‘Soap Opera’ with all the ‘characters’ interacting in their own way.
If you follow Jenny Densuke on Facebook, you get Jenny’s side of the same story. And because as a company, we’ve been doing this for over 10 years, we’ve gotten really good at it. We create a pretty convincing alternate reality.
And it’s been running a very long time. There are viewers that have been with us since the very, very beginning. Long enough that it’s become a part of their lives, and for a few of them, they completely forget that none of this is real.
Lately, there’s been a rash of weird letters and strange gifts, and so this whole thing has been on my mind. No one knows what the long term effects of living in a virtual world can have on the brain. As far as I know, there’s no studies.
But maybe there should be.