Is ‘Somebody’ The New ‘Yo!’? The Super Addictive, Bizarre App That Doesn’t Work


“Texting is tacky. Calling is awkward. Email is old. Next time try this.”

Somebody is a messaging app created by actor, director, author and artist Miranda July, made with support from Miu Miu, available in the iTunes store as a free download. According to July, “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 (likely a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in.”

The app allows you to send a message to your friend, but someone else receives the message – a Somebody user who GPS has determined to be near your friend. That user is then expected to deliver the message in person. Thus far, our own experiences with the app have proven futile, to say the least, but somehow we keep coming back to it, hoping the damn thing will work.

“I see Somebody as a world-wide public art project,” July said, “inciting performance, connection between strangers and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk.”

Somebody launched at the Venice Film Festival. You can check out the short film July shot with fashion house Miu Miu to introduce the app here – it’s not your typical product video.

You can download Somebody for iOS here.

Social Media Week


Somebody: A Clever Messaging App Film from Comedian Miranda July


The sharing economy is getting crowded: apartments, cars and even dinner tables — but what about personal interactions and real-life conversations? Comedian and writer Miranda July takes that question and applies it to her latest short-film for the clothing brand, Miu Miu, which perfectly captures “the strange tenderness of contemporary relationships.”

Somebody — not just anybody – is a clever parody app that lets you pick random strangers to deliver personal messages to friends or enemies. Just like Lyft or Uber, you can even rate their performance once you receive your in-person message from a special Somebody.

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.

The app is currently available in the App Store, but there are only so many users and few hotspots sponsored by Miu Miu. Think museums or the Venice Film Festival, where the short had its world premiere.

Current Hotspots to send messages to Somebody:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (with a presentation by Ms. July on Sept. 11), The New Museum (presentation on Oct. 9), Yerba Buena Center for The Arts (San Francisco), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Museo Jumex (Mexico City.) Museum-goers are invited to send and deliver messages in these spaces where there are likely to be other users.

You can also invite users to the app and create your own hotspot, though that might diminish the fun a bit if all the users are people you know.

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