Social Hacking



The soundboard is an excercise in constrained interaction, voice transfer, and identity dissolution. Throughout the 2000s, soundboards were built in Flash as a tool for placing prank phone calls. Sites like Newgrounds or Albino Black Sheep have some of the larger collections, including the Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard infamously used by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney's son in a prank phone call in 2008.

To use a soundboard effectively, a certain degree of study and familiarity is required. The user must acquire the "voice" of the soundboard, similar to the way Krzysztof Wodiczko and Sung Ho Kim's Porte-Parole Mouthpiece "transforms its user into a virtual subject, literally, a cyborg communicating through a high-tech device rather than your own bodily apparatus for speech".

In the same way soundboards mask the identity of the prank caller, they can also be used to craft an alternative identity for telemarketers. Instead of a telemarketer speaking directly over the phone, some are aided by soundboards with more neutral accents. In some instances, the telemarketer switches back and forth between speaking via soundboard, and speaking directly. Sometimes they deny they are "robots", other times they explain very clearly: "You are talking to a live person, but to ensure the information is accurate, I'm using pre-recorded audio messages."


Imagine you will be having a conversation with someone you don't know, introducing each of yourselves to each other. The goal is to assemble a collection of sounds for yourself that would be most useful to have in this conversation. During the introduction conversation, you will only be able to click buttons to play sound samples.

  1. Click "Allow" when the page asks to use your microphone.
  2. Click the red record button to record a sound.
  3. Click the stop button to finish recording the sound.
  4. Once the sound is recorded, you can click anywhere in the square to play the sound.
  5. Double-click the text to change the name of the sound.
  6. Double-click the trash can to delete the sound and re-record.
  7. The data will automatically sync with a server. Copy and paste the URL to come back to this soundboard.


To use someone's soundboard, you should only click on the middle of the rectangles to play the sounds. Don't delete or rename any sounds.



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