What, you’ve not been caught up in this yet? For heaven’s sake! You call yourself a citizen of the net, and you’ve not watched every single one of lonelygirl15‘s videos on YouTube? You’ve not joined the raging is-she-or-isn’t-she (a marketing shill) debate? Not even in the LA Times or New York Times or BusinessWeek? Blimey.

OK, so… the story so far: cute, doe-eyed, apparent-teenager starts posting ‘girl talking to webcam’ videos. So far, so generic. But the videos are very well put-together, ‘Bree’ is an engagingly funny performer, and after a little character-building there’s a bit of a plot that bubbles up. People start to notice that Bree is remarkably well-lit (which, frankly, is a dead give-away. Lighting is hard).

Somewhere along the way, Lonelygirl15 becomes the hottest thing on YouTube, and debate rages. Is it a viral marketing scheme? Is there a whole production team hiding behind the door, trying to get signed to HBO? Did they make all the films in a single batch, or have they faked comments interaction too? And, remarkably, plenty of people still seem to think that the whole thing is absolutely what it purports to be. Yeah, right.

Me? I think I’m watching near-genius production, that Bree is perfectly cast, and I’m fascinated to see how the makers propose to make money out of this – or even cover their costs. More likely, I think, is that they knew a fantastic young actress and decided to try something… and it all got a bit carried-away… and they’re wondering about the money thing as much as the rest of us.

In the meantime, I can’t begin to say how much I think Flash video sucks. Ugh ugh ugh!