Video: Connection or Illusion
Recently, a video called First Kiss went viral in a matter of hours. This video was styled as a documentary about strangers kissing. The truth about the video came out later. The video was an advertisement. The "strangers" were paid actors.
Most people are aware that online content can be deceiving, but the video drew viewers in because it appeared to be authentic. One of the advantages of video is that it conveys reality or at least realism. As viewers, it is hard to ignore the power of the images and sound we take in. The impression of being a witness or observer is unique to video. We connect immediately when we watch a video.
When this "trust" is betrayed and the "grassroots" illusion disappears, does the content lose its power? Or does that revelation feature into its success? When the illusion breaks, we may draw different conclusions about the content of the video but the initial impression remains.
In the case of First Kiss, it is hard not to appreciate the fact that it is provocative and well-made, despite of its origin as a marketing product. The impression viewers had of the video as "real" or "authentic" allowed them to connect willingly. It was a popular video even though some read that particular campaign as a kind of betrayal, tricking viewers into thinking the experiment was "real".
While this might serve as a reminder that the content we find online is rarely what it says it is, the success of First Kiss also demonstrates the power of spontaneously recorded moving images to convey something that is real and genuine.