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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student


Using somebody

It’s a sad realization, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that face-to-face conversation is considered weird.

Everything’s done screen-to-screen, including texting, emailing and even calling.

In an ironic attempt to reconcile empathetic communication, Miranda July created an application called Somebody.

Because how do we fix technology? More ?technology, duh.

Users are able to send a message to their friends through an absolute stranger. Each message is verbally hand delivered and performed by said stranger, who’s “acting” as the ?sender.

I know, I know, Mom always spoke about stranger danger. But don’t worry. Each user has ratings and reviews, so it’s totally OK.

On the down side, it’s worse than breaking up through a text. Essentially, by sending someone else to deliver the bad news, you’re claiming a villainous status. You’re too cowardly to spill the beans about how you’re “just not feelin’ it any more.”

But on the up side, this app now allows individuals to be two places at once.

For example, there’s a party on Wednesday night but you’re cramming for that orgo test you’ve got on Thursday. Have no fear. You can use Somebody to send somebody to the party to take pictures and make your wild ?party-going presence known.

Now, you may be wondering exactly who this “somebody” is. It’s another user, close in proximity to the recipient of the ?message you want to ?deliver.

The idea of strangers interacting isn’t a new one. Just think of Tumblr, Whisper, Tinder and even Cuddlr. Unreliable users surround them with little to no credibility.

The word anonymous extends further than one without a name. A person’s voice, trust and attitude are anonymous on these apps too.

July also released a companion film for the app that came out at this year’s ?Venice Film Festival.

The route that July took to market the app in the film was quite odd, and it almost mocked the ?purpose of Somebody.

One video clip shows a man proposing to his wife via a restaurant waitress. Another shows a plant, yes, the green kind, texting a co-worker to tell her boss to water it.

This app takes human interaction and replaces it with stranger interaction, but the message is still supposed to have the same ?sentiment.

It’s so far-fetched and laughable that I was surprised when I realized the app was available for download in the iTunes App Store.

Although it’s a curious development, it’s unconventional. I’m wondering why a total stranger would take time out of their day to deliver a message for another stranger. It just doesn’t add up.

There’s no “Do It Yourself” aspect involved, which is quite lazy, unproductive and definitely ?un-Pinterest-y.

But let me be a hypocrite. I’m going to go use Somebody to come finish this column for me since it’s Friday and I have a party to attend.

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