Back in the final days of 2017 I decided to create at least one Twitter bot after hearing about the Russian-backed bots. Plus, it was one of the coldest days of the year so staying inside and playing around with Twitter seemed rather appealing. I opened Cheap Bots, Done Quick and began creating some bots. Plus Dave was convincing me it’s a good idea to create bots after making one with Yifat.
So I created two Twitter bots:
@Y2KCash which talks about cryptocurrency, art, and technology.
@EscapeRoomBot which provides automated commentary on escape rooms.
Getting the bots up and running is simple enough and if you need help look there are plenty of online resources. Cheap Bots Down Quick uses Tracery as its language and if you’re new to Tracey there’s no need to fear as Katie Rose created a great guide on Tracery and Twitterbots (and here’s the full documentation).
For my bots the hardest part was generating the content and not the code. Terms specific to escape rooms and cryptocurrencies was easy enough, as was some unique sentences I wanted them to say. However, for more general things I needed to look elsewhere.
I figured there’s no point in creating generic lists of objects since inevitably somebody else already has. Sure enough, Darius Kazemi nicely created just that very thing in his Corpora project. “The project is a collection of static corpora (plural of “corpus”) that are potentially useful in the creation of weird internet stuff.” It includes lists of common objects and terms, which proved very useful for my weird internet project.
Adding lists greatly increased the diversity of commentary the bots could espouse. Sometimes the results from the lists are unexpected like this:
Anesthesiologists ought to be paid in #Dentacoin!
— Future Money (@Y2KCash) February 27, 2018
I decided to go further and add emoji and hashtags. Emojis were easy enough but hashtags took some figuring out (to add a hashtag in Tracery preface it with “\#” ie) \#hashtag \#escaperoom). Adding emojis to EscapeRoomBot was clearly a smart move as the commentary on escape games including emojis get more impressions. Also, the emoji are just fun to add.
Now go make your own Twitter bots!
Some final thoughts from the bots:
But life is short, and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.
— Future Money (@Y2KCash) February 19, 2018
Sometimes rooms are all like 🐠 when they should be more like ☎
— EscapeRoomBot (@EscapeRoomBot) February 10, 2018
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