Miranda July Upgrades Old-Fashioned Telegrams With New App

Miranda July's new app Somebody brings human interaction to technology-driven messaging services.

Writer-director-actress Miranda July doesn’t believe technological communication should replace human interaction, but she also knows that phones are something we use every day. It’s these two ideas that brought her new app Somebody to life. Instead of solely relying on technology to talk to someone else, Somebody is designed to send messages through another person IRL.

Think of it as a modern telegram. Basically, you send your message through the app and the app finds another person near the recipient that could say your words, and convey any actions to go with them, taking on your persona. It adds a human element, where the recipient can actually receive a hug from somebody relaying the message instead of just reading “-hug-” via text (because a hug emoji doesn’t exist yet, ahem).

In theory, this is a great way to send words and actions to someone far away from you. Of course, the person you’re sending the message to would have to be open to receiving it from a total stranger. People on the app would also have to want to send these messages and not just let them sit there undelivered. And then there’s the whole issue of actually locating people and wanting to go through that effort. But as July says to Wired, this is more a social experiment founded on human experience than an effective way of actually communicating.

To really know how this works though, you’d probably have to test it out for yourself. You can download the app for free through the Apple store.

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