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YouTube Appeal Nets Calls for Phoenix Man
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YouTube Appeal Nets Calls for Phoenix Man

Digital Life


From NPR News, it's DAY TO DAY. And I think this is the odd story of the day, Madeleine. There is a man in Arizona who wants you and me and anyone else to call him. His name is Luke Johnson. He's 27 years old. He lives in Gilbert Arizona - that's outside Phoenix. He's launched what he calls the Luke Johnson Phone Experiment. And here's reporter Rene Gutel of member station KJZZ to explain all about it.

RENE GUTEL: It all started with a video Luke posted on the popular video sharing site, YouTube.

Mr. LUKE JOHNSON: My name is Luke Johnson, and this is my phone experiment. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people will call me if I post my cell phone number on the Internet for the whole world to see. My cell phone number is 602-435…

GUTEL: In his video, Luke looks like a typical twenty-something. He has shaggy dark blond hair, and comes off as a skater type or maybe a surfer. Just the kind of random dude you might want to talk to, say, if you're bored and trolling the Internet.

Mr. JOHNSON: I want you to call my cell phone right now. I don't care why you call and I don't care what you say.

GUTEL: Since the video was posted, Luke's answered more than 10,000 phone calls. He carries his cell with him all the time, ready to talk to complete strangers about anything.

(Soundbite of phone ringing)

Mr. JOHNSON: Luke Johnson's Phone Experiment. Hi, how's it going? You are caller number 11,220, just in case you were wondering.

GUTEL: He's taken calls from Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, Switzerland - all over the place. He's a walking conversation hotline.

Mr. JOHNSON: For the most part, people just want to find out what caller number they are, and then they want to just say good job, keep it up. There are people who will want to talk for a long time. I've talked to some people for hours before.

(Soundbite of phone ringing)

Mr. JOHNSON: Luke Johnson's Phone Experiment. How's it going? Good. I'm actually doing a radio interview right now. It's going really well so far. You are now part of it.

GUTEL: Luke says the experiment is fun, but taxing. The first week, he says he didn't turn his cell phone off at all - not even at night - and that he grew exhausted and sleep deprived. He had to start setting limits, especially at work. Luke manages a sales team at a for-profit university. And when his boss found out about the phone experiment, he told Luke to stop taking calls on company time.

Mr. JOHNSON: I did have to set some boundaries. Definitely.

GUTEL: What's weird about the Luke Johnson Phone Experiment is that even Luke Johnson can't really explain why he's doing it or what he hopes to get out of it.

Mr. JOHNSON: I like trying things that are really different and, you know, people haven't done before. And some other ones I've actually might try soon. So…

GUTEL: Any he can tell us about?

Mr. JOHNSON: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JOHNSON: I came up with one to see - I didn't think anybody had ever - and this one's just a fun idea to me, but to try on the most pairs of underwear out of anybody. So buy like the smallest pair and then like the hugest pairs and buy hundreds of pairs and just one over the other and get in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for wearing the most pair of underwear.

GUTEL: Here's what else I think: some people just have a need to communicate. Luke's a talker. He needs to talk the same way he needs air to breathe. It's just a part of who he is.

Mr. JOHNSON: Well, I really appreciate the call, and please spread the video.

GUTEL: Luke can be reached at 602-435-3694, and I can guarantee he's waiting for your call. For NPR News, I'm Rene Gutel in Phoenix.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: Yeah, so you don't forget, call before midnight. You know, I think this guy's sort of the opposite of identity theft, Madeleine. He wants you to know everything out there.


I'm going to call him. I'm going to call him right now.

(Soundbite of laughter)


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