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You won’t be able to stop reading this Twitter account that sends out random bits of overheard conversations in NYC

Published May 16th, 2014 2:00PM EDT
Best Twitter Accounts To Follow Conversnitch

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Ever wanted to spend a day as a fly on the wall in a public place and just listen in to what people are talking about as they passed you by? Well now you have a Twitter account you can follow that’s doing it for you. @Conversnitch is an account that has been set up to listen in on and then tweet out bits of conversations of people who are walking through a particular area in New York City. The Guardian informs us that the account has been set up by two artists who used “only a credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, a microphone and a Wi-Fi card hacked into a lightbulb fitting, and a piece of open source software hosted at Github” to create a snooping device that is virtually undetectable.

While the ethics of this are certainly questionable, this project is at least audio only and doesn’t have any way of identifying who is speaking in the tweets. It also makes for absolutely fascinating reading as many of the conversation snippets are between friends who often intimately confide in one another because they don’t think they’re being listened to. The result is a sort of cubistic stream of fragmented conversations that seem like they’d belong in a James Joyce or Virginia Woolf novel. Among the highlights:

  • “I wish I woke up early enough to see the sunrise. I mean, sunsets are nice, but I feel like sunrises are more powerful.”
  • “Oh my god! I am scarred for life! what the f— are people in this office thinking?”
  • I cried myself to sleep last night and I woke up with my eyes all puffy and I was like this is not gonna work.”
  • She is such a terrible mother, I wish she would really get it together for those kids.”
  • Man I ain’t with that mess. No she better don’t. I know I can’t believe the stuff [?] was tripping like that.”
  • “I had the best dream this morning! It was about Eddie Vedder and we were swimming in a pool and in love.”

You get the idea.

The account sadly hasn’t sent out any new messages since May 5th so it seems that either the experiment is over or it’s been discovered and removed.

You can still check out every recorded conversation snippet it recorded by clicking here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.