AOL User 927 Gets Staged Reading In New York

Back in Aug ’06, a researcher ended up releasing 500,000+ AOL user search histories online and all sort of heck broke loose. One of the pieces of fallout was the search queries of User 927, who displayed a fondness for mold, mange, orchids, beauty and the beast disney porn and testicle festivals. The only sensible thing to do, of course, was to make it into a play.

User 927, “a thriller about cyberstalking, search engines, and the way information is obtained, manipulated, and released in our wired world,” is getting a staged reading this Wednesday at LAByrinth Theater Co. in New York

“Leah and her 14-year-old daughter Deena have fled the big city for rural Indiana to make a new, safer life for themselves. Then Deena disappears, and technophobe mom must plug back in to seek the culprit. Will the person she’s hunting be found online, or a bike ride away? A work of fiction based on one very real and disturbing search log.”

Wednesday, June 10, 7 pm
307 West 38th St. (just west of 8th Ave), fl. 16

reservations at:
$5 suggested donation
more info at

When they play was workshopped in Philly, it got picked up in a bunch of national media outlets. I think I might go check it out this week myself.

AOL User 927, The Theatrical Production
AOL User 927 Illuminated
AOL Releases 500,000+ User Search Records


Edit Your Comment

  1. TheBovaEffect says:

    I hope this search somehow makes it into that play, it shoes the true deviant nature of User 927:
    “927 steven cojocarru 2006-03-17 00:43:47”

  2. dohtem says:

    I wonder if AOL will respond.

    P.S. Are they still selling dial-up?

  3. PencilSharp says:

    Have no fears; AOL will indeed respond to this… once their Win98 machines reconnect…

    And why am I getting the baaad feeling that this will be on Lifetime Movie Channel in the next 3 months?

    • Nighthawke says:

      @PencilSharp: AOL is dying. Ignore it and move on.

      They once helped a generation of idiots get online, and now those idiots are on broadband being a nuisance on WoW and other games.

      You can easily tell if they were from AOL, just ask for their email address.

  4. mbgrabbe says:

    Well hey, at least this guy regulated his weirdo fetishes with occasional visits to bangbus. Everybody loves that site.

  5. BlackMage66652 says:

    What the hell, he was looking up all sorts of flowers and then out of nowhere it’s rape, bdsm involving electrocution and other weird stuff.

    What a disturbed individual.

  6. Meathamper says:

    You can’t be serious.

  7. sockrockinbeats says:

    @dohtem: sadly, yes. i have friends who live in a rural area where neither verizon or comcast/other cable company internets are available…their only options are satellite and dialup.

  8. GitEmHomerJay! says:

    Can’t be any worse than Shrek the Musical.

  9. labeled says:

    @dohtem: @R√©volution: NetZero’s new ad campaign out here is all about their “affordable alternative to broadband.” It made me think about those “worst day ever” commercials by Saturn… I’d rather feed our family of five lentils three nights a week than give up my broadband.

  10. B1663R says:

    so what is the big deal? like no one here EVER used the internet to look for porn and other messed up things just because you were “just curious”.
    2 girls 1 cup anyone?

  11. jmurphy42 says:

    “…who displayed a fondness for mold, mange, orchids, beauty and the beast disney porn and testicle festivals.”

    I really hope that sentence is missing a few commas.

  12. HogwartsAlum says:

    I’m probably on a list somewhere, with the stuff I’ve been looking up. I think of this User guy every time I do research.

    I think that’s hilarious that they made a play of his list.

  13. yourenzyme says:

    That looks like my search history :) God that’d be really messed up.

  14. redkamel says:

    no one tries to find weird stuff on the internet? I do all the time. One time I just kept browsing, I found porn involving knives. Then I kind of stopped. I dont go anywhere where its guranteed gross, I mostly just look for weird.

    Turn your safe search off and pick a letter or phrase. Then go from there. click 2-3 links per page, stick with the weirdest one, and repeat.

    Or try craig’s list “housing wanted” if you really want to see what people think is a good way to present themselves in 3 paragraphs or less. The best was something like this (with photo).
    “me and my gf need somewhere to live because there is a warrant out for my arrest in AZ because I didnt pay my child support. Currrently living in car, 420 friendly, have giant snake named Max but hes tame”
    ..and he thought it would work!

  15. Katharine Clark Gray says:

    Thanks for posting this, Ben! Hope you can make it.
    And thanks everyone else for all the lively comments.

    What has been most entertaining so far is checking out the difference in reaction to this guy’s search log when news first broke of the AOL scandal nearly 3 years ago, and now, after we’ve all experienced some serious growing up, Internettally speaking. (That’s a word, right?) It seems as though we’ve gotten significantly wiser, or at least more aware, of the best, worst, and weirdest of online search.

    In fact, we’ve gotten so used to the idea that someone might be observing our search patterns that Google now offers the Incognito window, to keep our movements a shade more anonymous.

    The AOL incident is now part of historical record. This play treats it as such, and uses it as a jumping-off point to examine not just the nature of online search, but ALL search, whether it’s for a dirty little website or a real, live, missing person. It looks at how a person’s clickstream can form an impressionist portrait of who they are, but might leave out just enough critical details to get the whole picture totally wrong.

    –KCG (playwright, USER 927)