I’ve written a fewposts here in the past on twitterbots — little bits of code that can generate and respond to tweets. Since those posts were published, I’ve traded messages with a few people who used the code for my original bot to write their own, and when I recently went back to the original post I noticed this at the end:
Now that I’ve built this and seen it running, I can imagine extracting the underlying logic for this into a little twitterbot framework so that next time I get a weird urge to do something like this and a few hours that I have nothing better to do with, I can make another bot quickly.
I pulled together a few hours this past week and did exactly that, creating a Python twitterbot framework that I’m calling ‘nanobot’.
You may remember my post from a while back about my experiences writing a Twitter bot. On my desktop, I keep an instance of TweetDeck running throughout the day, and one of its columns is set to view the notifications for @tmbotg. One of the bits of code in the bot is that any time another twitter user @-mentions the bot (or does an old-style "RT" retweet), the bot creates a favorite for that tweet. Recently I’ve noticed that retweets have been showing up in that column, but not getting faved. What’s up with that? (more…)
A while ago, I made a threat on Twitter that I was going to unfollow any account that wasn’t a bot. On an average day, I’ve been getting as much value out of these algorithmically-generated as I do from human-run accounts, it seems, whether it’s just tweeting out Finnegans Wake or Gravity’s Rainbow, searching the twitter stream for pairs of rhyming tweets in iambic pentameter, replacing the nouns and adjectives in William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say“, or a Markov chain-driven mashup of the King James Bible and Abelson & Sussman’s The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.
There’s a quote from near the beginning of Pynchon’s ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ that’s always resonated with me — “You know what a miracle is. Not what Bakunin said. But another world’s intrusion into this one. Most of the time we coexist peacefully, but when we do touch there’s cataclysm.” The tweets being generated by the bots I follow give me that same sense of tiny little blips of another incongruous universe briefly slipping into ours. I’m also reminded of Wintermute, the AI gone insane in Gibson’s Count Zero, quietly making Cornell-like shadowboxes.
Then, one day I saw this:
I bet if I did nothing but tweet @TMBG lyrics, people would think I was insane.