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'Social Sound' Is a Tool for Turning Twitter into Live Sound Art

Imagine a chorus of people reading tweets, all dedicated to the term "#girlswholift".

Social Sound from Ivaylo Getov on Vimeo.

My favorite about a sitcom is, without a doubt, the laugh track (sorry, Too Many Cooks!); I like to imagine large groups of people in the 1950s, getting together in search of the perfect oohs, ahhs, "Aww!"-moments, and of course, the classic American guffaw. I even like bustling stock sounds of crowds—in their nebulousness, I like to try and dig out the individual things people were saying to set the right ambience. But for today's engaged-audience, an altogether new sound roars: the certain silence, punctuated by tapping fingertips, that says "I'm saying something, just not to you."

Thankfully, a new tool exists that allows you to turn "real time social activity into a rush of sound in the real world," and give a voice to the constant flow of non-verbal, networked conversations. Social Sound (by creative technology studio Luxloop) is a performance tool that takes the form of a laptop or smartphone songbook. Simply input any term, and it loads the latest tweets using that term from public Twitter users the world over. 

Now that you have the material, the "sheet music" if you will, it's up to you to decide how to sonify it. Describing one such application, "A choir of people gather in one physical location, using the Social Sound website as their virtual songbook, ensuring that each performer is reading a unique part," Luxloop explain of the performance documented above. "Tweets containing the key search term are channelled to the performers, who narrate the thoughts out loud." The resulting cacophony is at once overwhelming as it is teeming with creative potential. In a way, it sounds a lot like the internet, itself. 

Click here to check out Social Sound for yourself. If you end up using it for a project or performance, make sure to send us a link in the comments below.

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