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New app puts awkwardness back into instant messaging

If you don't like the impersonal nature of sending an IM, Somebody app provides a way to inject a human touch into the situation. Instead of your message being sent to the named recipient, it gets sent to the Somebody user who is geographically closest to them. That person, aided by a photograph, then approaches your contact and reads them your message.

It's the work of artist and filmmaker Miranda July, who collaborated with designer Thea Lorentzen and a team of developers from Stinkdigital. She also created this informative video which demonstrates the possibilities that this app opens up:

Somebody is available for iOS now.

Tanya Combrinck is digital editor on net magazine.