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Somebody App

This App Relays Your Texts Through a Total Stranger

These days it seems easier to have a conversation over text message than in person. Our smartphones are attached to our bodies practically. Artist Miranda July decided to turn our smartphone addiction into a way to spark more human, face-to-face interaction with her new app: Somebody. Here's how it works: "When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes — not to your friend — but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (probably a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in."

The app, which was made with support from fashion brand Miu Miu, describes itself as a "far-reaching public art project" that is the "antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises." Instead, it aims to make you "nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us." Here's how they suggest you use it:

Use Somebody when . . .

. . . you want to confess your love but you don't actually want to confess your love. (Write a script for your stand-in that includes the direction [Nervous.])

. . . you want to send an appealing stranger to your friend. (But read his ratings and reviews first!)

. . . you can't go to the party but you want your presence felt. (Send a stand-in to compliment the host!)

. . . you want to meet new people nearby. (Pick a floating message and deliver it!)

. . . you want to create a once-in-a-lifetime, real, unpredictable experience for a friend!

When you can't be there . . . Somebody can.

Are you game?

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