Long Form, Tech

How To Create Your Own Twitter Bot, Part 1 (No Programming Required)

Since I’ve come clean about being an organic Twitter bot herder, many people have asked me “hey, Adam, how can I create my own Twitter bot?”

So here is how you do it in a few easy steps:

Plan Your Bot First

1.  Before you do anything on the web, take a moment and think. Who is your bot? What’s their purpose? Are they a fabulous Italian CEO of a software company? Are they a single industry focused new source? Or perhaps a Lt Cmdr 1st & Chief Science Officer aboard the USS Enterprise?

2. Now that you’ve got that set, set up a new Twitter account, don’t use yours! You’re creating a bot here, remember?. Find some photo on the web to be the “face” of your Twitter bot. If you’re creating a bot of the male persuasion, you can look here.

aristotole onagio

Searching for “Italian man” came up with a great photo that I took for the face of Aristotele Onagio. Wish I knew who this guy is in real life.

3.  Once you register for your new Twitter account, don’t forget to follow like 100 random people on Twitter and fully fill out your new bot’s Twitter profile. If you need some suggestions on how to make that engaging, look at Mashable’s guide.

4.  It might seem silly, but these first two steps are really important. You need to be interesting if you want to attract followers. What’s your bot’s back story? As a progressive Italian, Aristotele hates Silvio Berlusconi, so that became a central part of his “personality”.

For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to step us through setting up a new ‘bot: @FakeKanyeWest:

fake kanye west

Make Your Bot Tweet

twitter feed

4.  Now on to more technical stuff. Sign up for a twitter feed account. Twitter feed is a service that “offers to tweet the last posts published in a blog via the RSS feed.” I find the service a bit slow, but it is extremely useful.

5.  The next step is to find a bunch of RSS feeds to pump into twitter feed. What you don’t have some handy? No worries, Google News and Bing News do.

Let’s start with Bing News — it’s a bit easier. What would Fake Kanye want to tweet about? Why himself, for sure. So, let’s type Kanye West into Bing News. All sorts of new stories show up, and down at the bottom of the page you will see this:



Right click on the “subscribe by RSS” link and copy the link.

6.  Heading back to twitter feed, let’s set up a new feed:

twitter feed screen shot

See how I put that link from Bing in there?

Next, go to the “advanced settings”:

advanced settings

Personally, I think setting “Post Content” to “title only” works the best for Twitter. You can change how frequently you want Fake Kanye to post with the “update frequency” drop-down.

twitter feed 2nd screen shot

A bit lower down in the Advanced Settings, is a really important. Posts in Twitter are often found via hash tags, so attaching them to Fake Kanye’s Tweets makes them more noticeable.

Move to “step two” on twitter feed, authenticate your new Twitter account, click “authenticate service” and you have created a auto-tweeting Twitter bot.

Next Steps

This post is getting a bit long, so I’m going to stop here and write some follow-ups to it. Future posts will cover: