I made some Twitter bots! It was mostly very easy.
The bots I made use Zach Whalen’s SSBot, documented in “How to Make A Twitter Bot with Google Spreadsheets version 0.4” which includes all the information you need about how to link your Twitter account to the spreadsheet and start the bot tweeting. The only thing I’ll note is that the Spreadsheet’s “Project Key” (asked for in Step 4) is depreciated; you’ll need to use the Script ID instead (it’s located directly under the Project Key in the Spreadsheet’s Project Properties).
Once you link the Twitter account to the SSBot, you enter data in the spreadsheet and that data is what gets tweeted.
Here’s a list of bots I made:
- CollationBot: Posts out-of-context collation formulas from manuscripts on OPenn, The Digital Walters, Parker on the Web, and the British Library’s Hebrew Manuscripts.
- LovecraftBot: Posts lines from the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Because Lovecraft was a racist anti-semite, I donate money to the Black Youth Project when the bot posts offensive content.
- LovecraftMix: Similar to LovecraftBot but the stories are run through a Markov chain generator before divided into Tweets. Again, when offensive content is posted, I donate to the Black Youth Project.
- ReyloBot: This bot posts lines from fanfiction stories posted on Archive on Our Own in the Reylo fandom (Rey x Kylo Ren).
- Reyloconfused: Similar to ReyloBot but as with the LovecraftMix bot, stories are run through a Markov chain generator.
- BaumBot: Posts lines from the works of L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz and many other strange and fanciful books for children.
- WhyBeBot: Generates posts in the format of “Why be X when you can be Y?”
For all but WhyBeBot I generated a list of 140 line strings and pasted it into column one of the “Select from Columns” tab in the SSBot spreadsheet. This was really the most difficult and interesting part, because in each case I had to figure out how to download and process the texts. For example, for CollationBot I had to figure out how to pull out just the collation formulas from the records, while for the full-text bots I had to download the texts, find the sentences, and ideally find sentences that were less than 140 characters (if you pay attention you can see that these bots were created over time, and I got much better later on about including only complete sentences). Clearly most of these bots were made before Twitter increased to 280 characters; I may go back and lengthen the strings someday.
WhyBeBot is a bit different. It takes advantage of SSBot’s ability to mix content among columns. Instead of just one column, WhyBeBot has four columns. The first contains only “Why be ” while the third contains only “when you can be “, and the second and fourth both have a randomly-generated list of a few hundred adjectives.
There are many other ways to make Twitter bots (I know that a lot of people have had good luck with Cheap Bots Done Quick – I’ve never tried it, maybe someday). I would like to do more bots, the setup is pretty simple and getting the content situated is a fun challenge.