You’ve probably read the articles about how many ‘bots there are on Twitter, right? Researchers have recently claimed that it could even be 1 in 10 accounts.
Most of the time, based on my own personal experience creating ‘bots, I suspect it’s more like 9 out of 10 accounts.
As you’ll see, my approach to creating bots is hand-crafted. There are Twitter bot factories out there (really!) that churn out the tweets and bots by the thousands or millions. That’s not me.
The Beginnings of My Botishness
Using nothing more than Twitterfeed and the Google News RSS feed, this slightly more polished doppelganger spewed news of Berlusconi, Milan and Italian cheese. In no time, he had more twitter followers than me, and became somewhat of an authority on the changing Italian political scene:
With Aristotele going strong, I created the above pictured Valeria Onagio ‘bot whose profile description Amante del cibo, la cucina, i gatti e tutte le cose che indossano calze translates roughly into “a lover of food, cooking, cats and all things that are wearing stockings”.
Listed as the CFO of Onagio Software — no relation to Aristotele — her follower count quickly zoomed over 1,000.
Industry Specific Twitter Bots
Emboldened by my success, I created industry specific ‘bots, CRM Hourly News (“Every hour, almost on the hour bringing you the top stories from the world of Customer Relationship Management”) which has 2,200+ followers and Social Business Today (500+ followers).
Hard to tell who is winning, but it’s amusing to watch the bots tweet at each other.
Now, not all my bots have gone on to fame and fortune. My No Jerks twitter bot never really took off, despite interesting content.
— No Jerks (@No_Jerks)
Creating a bot seems to be more than generating tweets and hashtags.
What Next for the Bot Maker?
With the recent changes in Twitter, my bots have been trying to post more pictures, which seems to be a bit more complicated:
— Aristotele Onagio (@a_onagio)
I’ve been using tools like IFTTT to help with this, along with Tumblr specific photo blogs, but what I’d really like to do is start writing some simple programs that talk directly to the Twitter API as described here in The New Yorker.
Unfortunately traveling around and my day job have been keeping me from taking this move. Perhaps I should just take a few days off to focus on this? Valeria would be pleased.
Don’t just take my word for it, it’s easy to create bots. I wrote a few blogs describing how. Give it a try. Or instead you can also follow my Twitter list of my bots here: https://twitter.com/adamhonig/lists/social-friends, but watch out for Valeria’s images — she seems to be posting often inappropriate (and NSFW) pictures of people wearing stockings.