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What Twitter Hears at 2am (California Time)

A scheduled experiment

Nearly three dozen people replied to a tweet of mine while I was deep asleep. This was by design. I set a tweet to appear at 2:00am on Friday morning, and checked the results when I woke. I’ve sent variations on this tweet in the past, but never with such a strong result.

The tweet read:

I’m asleep. This is an automated tweet at 2am, California time. Please reply, if you have a moment, and let me know what you hear right now. Thanks.

I chose to send it at 2am, thinking since that was 5am on the East Coast, therefore in the United States a relatively smaller percentage of the population would be awake and online. I wanted to optimize for people elsewhere on the planet to reply. There were some local insomniacs in the mix, nonetheless.

Below are the results, in the order they appeared in my Twitter feed. Where individuals’ locations were identifiable, I include them parenthetically. Some folks actively named their location. When I do this again in the future, I may ask people to say where they are, and I may send it at 1:30am. The final of these appeared 24 hours after the rest of them.

▰ The cat snoring.

▰ The washing machine downstairs. Light rain. Traffic on the road outside. Birds shouting about sex/boundary disputes.

▰ Tinnitus (Sydney, Australia)

▰ Rain

▰ A tap running (Berlin)

▰ it’s noon in london, zone 2. i hear the white-noise generator i use 24/7. i hear a lack of truck reversing signals, shout-talking. not even any bangs and crashes from above. i can hear low-level traffic noise outside & know that its been raining from the swishing sound of tires. … windows open, add seagulls, a distant siren and a few human voices (London)

▰ HEPA and fridge duet.

▰ Coffee machine and rain

▰ The air purifier trying to keep us safe.

▰ Tinnitus, a washing machine, a sleeping dog and the next door but one shooting hoops. (Manchester)

▰ Tinnitus. Breeze. (Istanbul)

▰ It’s half past noon here in Berlin. I hear clicking coming from the radiator and muffled radio voices from across the hallway.

▰ Cat complaints (Hudsonville, Michgan)

▰ Rain (Loomis, California)

▰ 10:00am GMT. Birdsong, chickens scratching for food. The creak of my footsteps on the shed floor. New Madlib x Four Tet album on low volume. (Nottingham, England)

▰ The gentle rumble of slow traffic in the distance, the occasional drops of water dripping from a leaky gutter, birds calling to one another, my partner chopping fruits for her porridge in the kitchen, and now my fingers typing on the keyboard. (Bristol, England)

▰ It is a little after 5a, and I just woke up. I also have no idea who you are, but @brainmage reached out, so now I am. I hear ‘Chicks on Speed’ on my spotify (Philadelphia)

▰ My computer fan. Waiting for a student to log on and present their work for their mid-year assessment. (Staffordshire, England)

▰ It’s 11:32 a.m. here and I’m wearing headphones while not listening to anything. I hear my fingers on the keyboard and a faint ringing in my ears. Nothing else, which is nice. (Glasgow)

▰ Beethoven Sonata 29 – Adagio Sostenuto (headphones ‘cos the fam’s in bed). Outside: a ton of crickets on this warm damp night. We had a month’s worth of rain today! (Melbourne, Australia)

▰ The sound of me eating a sandwich. And the tram 7 passing on the tracks in front of my apartment. (Brussels, Belgium)

▰ traffic
an electrical hum that i think is the fridge
upstairs neighbours doing something that’s resulting in some kind of scratching dragging sound
my own v faint tinnitus
birds (small corvids im pretty sure)
a dog barking (medium to large)
a car door closing (maybe blue? [Thinking face emoji])

▰ sounds of cars passing by in d distance, soft taps of my fingers on d touchscreen keyboard of my phone, quiet airflow in d buildings ventilation system, movement now and then from my upstairs neighbors, my soft breathing, and quiet pondering bubbling in my stomach. all so gentle (Sweden)

▰ Dishwasher and howling wind. (Connecticut)

▰ The gentle pulse of my wife’s CPAP machine. (Shepherdstown, West Virginia)

▰ Watching a movie just after 11pm, sounds of cars on a highway in Utah coming out of the Genelecs and a cat chirping for attention (New Zealand)

▰ Sound of hearing system in my house. Ears ringing. (Charlottesville, VA)

▰ It’s 11.19 AM on Friday morning. The hum of my laptop’s fan is slowly winding down after disconnecting from the day’s first Zoom meeting. Outside, silence, cut across the middle by bus tires on water, then silence again. And birds. (Biel, Switzerland)

▰ the whirring univent fan in my office

▰ Got it at 10:30 EST. We were out of power for 4 hours tonight, so I’m hearing lots of waking up- radio, kitchen timer, me and the kid watching LOL music videos (Gainesville, FL)

▰ computer hum, radiator tinkles, wind, cars in the distance (Boston, MA)

▰ 6:38 AM – the buzzing of my heater, my stomach rumbling, my fridge humming, and that’s it! Love how quiet and still it is.

▰ It’s Friday, 01/29/21 2:48 AM PST. Water dripping rhythmically from a gutter just outside my bedroom window. (San Francisco, CA)

▰ I hear the sound of Reverse Osmosis by Kevin Drumm playing through laptop speakers (a dense spectrum of harmonic frequencies); the tapping of my fingers on the laptop keyboard writing this; cars passing at the end of road infrequently; the family next door shouting at each other. (Nottingham, UK)

▰ 10am, Friday. Sounds: My kids playing at the end of the house, radio 4 (talk radio) from the other room, a distant aeroplane and the occasional bird chirping… There is also a low hum from our biomas unit. (Norfolk, Europe)

▰ dim humming of fridge in the distance (California)

▰ I’m a day late – but it’s the morning and I hear bread being kneaded… slapping hard against the mixer bowl, the slight wavering whine of the motor accompanying!

The full thread is at twitter.com/disquiet.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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