Of all the things brought to you by Internet - Twitter is one of the most fascinating. As a form of communication - it is nearly impeccable. Lightning-fast, comfortably compressed, incredibly effective. It is the perfect medium for the conversation in the age of short attention span. It is also a good place for experiments. Twitter bots are amongst them.
In short - twitter bot is a software application that is attached to a Twitter account in order to perform certain actions. Such as liking, following, tweeting, retweeting, etcetera. Aside from usual role in web automated promotion, Twitterbots turned out to be rather interesting tool for literary experimentation with random text generation, text selection and text collaging.
Here's the rundown of the most fascinating Twitterbots.
We can't start the list without mentioning the bot who tweeted every word in English language. It took him 109,000 tweets every half an hour for about seven years to get to the end. Created by Adam Parrish in 2007 (when Twitter was in its infancy) it was an attempt of critique of a new platform. "People were posting meaningless things, totally out of context. I wanted to satirize the brevity of Twitter messages". Based on a simple script that makes one post every thirty minutes taking its text from an alphabetized lost - @everyword turned out into conceptual art exercise. An attempt to show somewhat canonical list of English words.
This bot is a real deal for those who are looking for unexpected imagery. @streetsnsheets takes the phase "I'm a (blank space) on the streets and a (blank space) in the sheets" and randomizes the words to fill in the sentence. The results may wary. Usually it turns out to be like this "Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni in the streets, Crossbow Infantry in the sheets" or like this "Pieces of the Puzzle in the streets, Bioplasm in the sheets". It makes zero sense on its own but it is mildly entertaining depending on the context it can give you accidental shot in the arm. It happened with me on the tweet "Goblin Arsonist in the streets, Field Creeper in the sheets".
In 1975 Paul Simon wrote a song "50 ways to leave your Lover". It is rather annoying if you really think about it. But that's OK. In spite of a title it only touched upon about 7 ways. It was quite irritating for some and but offered food for thought. That's why Adam Parrish created another bot to "fulfill the promise", fill the quota and expand upon it in an elaborate way "from now into eternity ". Every couple of hours' bot generates another new way to leave a lover. It's a nice showcase of how we perceive random generated text.
This Twitter bot gives you a chance for an adventure. Created by Andrew Vestal it is a starting point for an oldschool quest. You just need to send a message to an account with words "inventory" or "I" and get a list of items for your adventure. This list of things will rather odd. Then you can imagine what is going on. Or don't. Latter is more curious. Anyway the lists of items are generated at random and sometimes they tell the stories of their own. Usually quite absurd. Classic @YouAreCarrying posts look like this: "a soy patty, a toy duck, a wallet, an apple, a blanket, a rusty cross." Or "a headlamp, a log tape, a pair of magnetic boots, a small drill bit, a J-series hyperdiode, a key." Or "an ionic diffusion rasp, a Nutrimat/Computer Interface, a tool box." Or "a card, a rusty iron key, a Flathead stamp, a white book, a cake frosted with orange letters, a bank brochure.". it is like poetry - endless images, narrative threads and verbal equilibrism...
Just don't think too hard about it.
This Bot creates variations on Ezra Pounds seminal poem "In the Station of the Metro". The poem known for its dense imagery and economic narrative is a perfect battleground for linguistic experimentation of a mindless drone. Since there are no verbs - it makes even more outlandish variations of the poem quite entertaining. Albeit none of them will ever come out of the shadow of its great ancestor. However, it is weirdly satisfying to think that there is entire army of "In the Station of the Metro" variations standing in its shadow waiting for the right moment to start the assault...
William Carlos Williams is one of the most memetic poets of this day and age. He's legacy got not one but two Twitter bots that frequently post variations of his poems. One bot posts versions of his famous "Red Wheelbarrow", while the other posts variations on "This is Just to Say". Basically both bots riff on the poems ad absurdum. Because they have no rhyme or reason - occasionally result is utterly fascinating.
Anagramatron is brainchild of Colin Rothfels. It is a bot that repost posts that contain anagrams - words and phrases that are made by rearranging the letters of a given words or phrases in order to produce new text while using all the original letters exactly once. Anagramaton bot looks for anagrams all over the twitter. And when he finds something that can be qualified as an anagram - he reposts it. This makes an assorted accidental collection of curiosities.
This one is for the hardcores. It is all just Bong and bong and bong and bong. A bog of Bongs basically. Because it is a clock. It is beautiful the way it is and you should really appreciate this little Twitterbot for its audacity. Also - you might experience a fit of hostile allergy towards the letters "B" and "O" and "N" and "G" and their respective combined soundforms
That's it for now. Hope you're enjoyed. There many more curious Twitter bots out there. But these were the most interesting IMHO.