Miranda July Wants To Add A Human Touch To Texting

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04_Miranda_somebody_selfie_07312014Photo: Courtesy of Somebody.
Kings of Leon sings, "I’ve been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see / Painted faces fill the places I can’t reach / You know that I could use somebody...Someone like you."

Miranda July and Miu Miu heard the Kings' siren call. Their new app, Somebody, hopes to fill the void of human interaction lost when we communicate through texts and emails.

Part Uber, part singing telegram, Somebody, which was developed by Stinkdigital, finds someone in the vicinity of your message's recipient to deliver the news out loud for you. Not only does the person read your message, he or she is supposed to put him/herself in your shoes and act out the missive as you intended it.

"Somebody twists our love of avatars and outsourcing — every relationship becomes a three-way. The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us," the press release promises. "When you can't be there...somebody can."

After composing your message, you can select your proxy from Somebody users currently near the recipient. You select how they should be feeling when they deliver the message, as well as any actions they should take, like clutching the person's hand or giving them a hug.

It sounds a little creepy, and we worry people will go overboard having their Somebody stand-ins breaking up with significant others for them. Still, one has to admire Miranda July's undying optimism that we can somehow rectify the cold form of communication to which we have all become inured with the rise of cell phones. We're off to tell Caleb Followill that we've found his Somebody.

July also created this short film about various ways to use Somebody.