What if your Twitter followers literally followed you everywhere you went?  What if people walked around with signs announcing their relationship status and sexual orientation, poked people on the street, or stuck post-its that said ‘Like’ on all the things they liked in real life?  A new viral video, ‘Can I be your friend?’ explores these questions in order to promote a brand new opera about our online lives.

The video, which hit YouTube just days ago and already has nearly 350,000 views, features a guy walking around London asking people if he can poke them, showing them pictures in a big album and asking them to comment, asking if he can be people’s Facebook friends or if he can follow them on Twitter and then proceeding to literally follow them down the street.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a video of this nature has hit the Web.  The BBC’s Idiots of Ants answered the question “What would Facebook be like in real life?” back in 2008 with the video ‘Facebook in real life,’ and a 2010 ‘Facebook in Real Life’ video has garnered over 1 million views.  But this is the first time that a video like this has been used to promote an opera about our lives online.  And in fact, we’re pretty sure that this is the first time that there has been a professional opera written about social media and our lives online.  Check out the video, ‘Can I be your friend,’ and then find out more about the opera, called Two Boys, below.

Two Boys is described as, “A new opera that lifts the lid on the dangers of living our lives online.”  On the opera’s website, composer Nico Muhly talks about the idea behind the Two Boys.  “The piece begins with a stabbed child.  And it begins with a policewoman investigating what appears to be a typical case of kids being violent to each other.  As she scrapes below the surface she realizes that there’s this entire online world that these boys have been involved in.”  He says, “There’s a lurid interest in what kids are up to when the doors are closed and when they’re quiet.”

Leo Warner, the video designer for the production, says that the story is about how “one person can pretend to be many and how another person can believe they’re dealing with someone who they’re not.”  I think that this is an incredibly interesting idea.  A few short years ago many people were terrified of chat rooms, dating sites and other social places online for this very reason—you never really know who you are talking to.  Today, the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter have led many of us to forget that the Internet can still be a rather dark and mysterious place.

Nico Muhly says, “The reason I wanted to write this piece is because I am personally so excited about the enormous depth of information and systems of organization and images on the internet, and I thought that a story that uses that as a medium is the most necessary kind of opera.”  Two Boys opens on June 24 at the London Coliseum and will be running through July 8.

If you will be in London, will you go see Two Boys?  What do you think about the concept, as well as the viral video that’s being used to promote the opera?

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.