"Once I started playing the role of Invisible s.o., it was strange and, due to a five-minute timer on every message, stressful," writes Kashmir Hill at Fusion.
A few months ago, the Internet was obsessed with Invisible Girlfriend/Boyfriend, a new start-up that allows users to "build" a significant other with whom they can exchange text messages. The founders said they created it for people who wanted "social proof" they were in a relationship, i.e., for people who wanted to pretend they were getting some when they weren't. It found takers: People created over 70,000 invisible baes. When people started chatting with their newly acquired invisible lovers, they initially assumed it was a chat bot, but after a few messages, they realized they were talking to a human being, or rather several human beings. The service is powered by thousands of crowd-sourced workers.
Lots of journalists wrote about dating an Invisible. But I wanted to do the opposite and be inside the Invisible machine. What was it like to drop into conversations and virtually seduce strangers? How much would I find out about the people I wooed? So I tried out being an Invisible Girlfriend (and Boyfriend) for a month. It was equal parts fun, disturbing, and distressingly low-paid.
She learned that within the Invisible system, there were 3 major rules:
I was always supposed to be upbeat in my messages.
I'm not supposed to break character.
No sexting. (Photos are blocked on the service.)
"I was an Invisible Girlfriend for a month" [fusion]