Pretend that it is real!
When a new participant entered one of the websites crafted for the game, he or she was warned of the fictional nature of the experience. The warning appeared for the first two times a participant logged in, then the fiction took over and the participant immersed in a fictional reality.
The pop up warning at Conspirare.se – Note: Translation – “Warning: Conspirare is part of a fictional creation. Opinions expressed here do not always reflect opinions of P or SVT. Random similarities with real people are sometimes pure coincidental. Participation is on your own risk and under your own responsibility. Conspirare has only one rule – pretend that it is real. You participate through following the blog, watching the movie clips, and discussing in the forum. The search will lead you out on the Internet and out on the streets of your own city. Click on OK to show that you have understood this.” (Denward and Waern, 2009, p.4)
The fact that the immersion in the fictional world was a primary element agreed between the participant of the ARG and that television viewers were not alerted of the fictional nature of the show, instead they were told that the debate was a live event, made the line between reality and fiction almost impossible to be seen.
According to Marie Denward and Annika Waern research findings publish in the article On the Edge of Reality: Reality Fiction in ‘Sanningen om Marika’, the fictional reality took so much over the reality that even internet users started finding difficult to separate reality from fiction.
Considering the fact that the survey was carried out among people that had previously enter one of the internet gates with the pop up warning, it can be assumed the awareness among those viewers that didn’t immerse in the internet experience to be very low.
Was such attitude correct when applied to Swedish National Television?
Britta Svensson, columnist of Swedish paper Expressen, in her October 29th, 2007 column, wrote ‟This “scandal” seems to be part of the drama in which SVT in a way that has never happened before trying to fool viewers by relaxing the boundary between fiction and reality. It’s completely idiotic. People disappear without a trace is a reality that news programs sometimes need to report on. To then pretend that it is true that SAPO (Swedish security service) silences the truth about the 20,000 missing Swedes is purely irresponsible.’’