What You Can Learn About Humanity From A Smashmouth Phone Line

January 22, 2018
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There’s no real explanation for why I built a phone line that does nothing but plays Smashmouth’s “All Star”. I’ll chalk up Twitter distraction as my excuse.

That phone line quietly logged 1,200 calls in a few months, leading me to shout to the heavens “Who is calling this line and why? Dear God, why?”

I reached out to the interwebs searching for an answer. In doing so, I opened Pandora’s Box. More accurately, Smashmouth opened Pandora’s box.

How To Quantify Humanity’s Consumption of “All Star”

Their tweet sparked a stretch of non-stop calls to a my All Star phone line. In total, callers listened to a total 4.2 days of “All Star”.

In an effort to detail what occurred, and unpack what this says about the human condition, I am releasing the critical bits of data surrounding the phone line.

May this data cleanse me of my Smashmouth trespasses.

The Calls Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming

This tweet kicked off the run of calls, starting Dec 19, 2017 at 1:46 PM PT. I grabbed these logs as the volume of calls trailed off, January 3rd 2018 at 10:51 am PT.
In that duration, the All Star line logged 10,402 calls. Let us attempt to make sense of the data therein.
Callers spent a total of 4.2 days listening to “All Star”. Here’s the data cut up in more digestible slices.

Total Call Time

  • 364,895 seconds
  • 6081.50 minutes
  • 101.3 hours
  • 4.2 days


The Smashmouth Call Wave


The Exact Moment Smashmouth Peaked

On a clear night, you can look out and see where the calls peaked and rolled back. With my apologies to Hunter S. Thompson, here’s the exact hour the Smashmouth line hit its high water mark.
Who calls on Christmas? 260 people did. Who calls 7 minutes before ringing in New Years? Someone did. Here are the ups and downs of the All Star line by hour.


Love and Hate: A Tale of Many Cities

Man, the Northeast (especially areas surrounding Philadelphia) really loves them some Smashmouth. The West Coast (and even Latvia) not so much.



The All Star MVP and “Needs Improvement”

Some people love “All Star”. Some only lasted 1 second when faced with Smashmouth. Whoever that brave person is, they won the award for shortest call. Whoever listened for 104 seconds… is everything okay?


I Mean, What Do We Do Now?

That’s about all the sense I can make of this social experiment. If you have any wacky ideas of which next phone line will wreak havoc on philosophers and social scientists — let me know. kyleky@twilio.com