The first known post about the Signal and Noise project / Human Souls ARG was made by user dadvader2016 on Tumblr. Dadvader2016 is not personally connected to the project, but was posting about an unusual advertisement seen at Andrew Hussie's MsPaintAdventures website.

So I’m looking at the ads on the side. And there’s one which is pretty abstract and ugly. Which is fine with me. It’s mostly green, and flashes binary code and a woman’s face.
So I click on it, and it just takes me to a Google search for the words “Help me.”
The ad flashes the words “Help me” too.
When I mouseover it, it just says “signal and noise.”
What is this even an ad for? Is it even an ad?
There’s definitely some sort of code in there so there must be something I’m missing, if I can figure it out.
Here’s the actual file:

The next day, Tumblr users including "Not-Terezi-Pyrope" followed a trail of clues leading to the first six Signal and Noise videos on Youtube. They decoded the binary code seen in the MSPA advertisement and transcribed (and listened to) the conversation between Eric and The Woman.

By the end of the night, the ARG's creator informed them that they'd won.

But further videos and clues would be posted over the next week.

The first players basically stopped playing at that point (except for "Mod Hammie" from the conscioushumansouls tumblr), but some of their theories would be used later in the storyline, such as references to football player Sergio Aguero, to Argentina, the numbers 555 and a character called "Leslie."