Design an Ideation Twitter Bot

This brief tutorial teaches you how to develop a versatile twitter bot that can quickly generate and publish design ideas (no programming experience required!); the goal of this tutorial is to empower designers with easy-to-use generative ideation and prototyping methods. To get started, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a new Twitter account. If you don’t want to create new email account for your bot’s Twitter, then use the [your email]+something trick to have your new account send messages to your existing account (ex. If your email address is “designer@risd.edu” then use “designer+something@risd.edu”).

Landing page of Cheap Bots Done Quick. Click to sign in with your Twitter account.

Step 2: Next, go to Cheap Bots Done Quick (CBDQ) and click the “Sign in with Twitter” button. Authorize the application to post on your new Twitter account.

Step 3: You’ll see that CBDQ has a large text box; this is where you’ll paste the code for your bot. CBDQ specifies that bots are written in Tracery using JSON strings. Use the visual Tracery editor to easily write the content for your bot.

The Tracery visual editor isn’t the prettiest editor out there — but it is very user friendly!

Some information: Your bot ideates/prototypes by randomly selecting words from variable categories and inserting them into formulas written in “origin”.

Inputs within “origin” specify the structure of your generated strings of words. Note that you can create more than one formula in “origin” by pressing the plus icon and then typing a new string with specified variables.

Variables are words between hashtags (i.e. #occupation#); the contexts of variables are randomly chosen every time the bot completes an “origin” formula. As you add words or phrases to the variables, your outputs will automatically generate on the right side of the editor.

Step 4: Create and edit new and existing origin formulas and variables until you are satisfied with your bots output.

After hitting the JSON button in the top left of the visual Tracery editor, your window should look something like this. Copy the text in the box to the left.

Step 5: Save your code and click the JSON button at the top of the editor. Copy and paste the text shown unto the large text field in CBDQ.

Paste the JSON you copied from the visual Tracery editor into the large textbox at Cheap Bots Done Quick.

Step 6: Finally, scroll to the bottom of the CBDQ page and use the first drop down menu to specify how frequently you’d like your bot to tweet. Click save.

After pasting in your JSON, you can test tweet using the tweet button at the right, set how frequently your bot will tweet with the first drop down, and then save your work.

That’s it! You’re done! Sit back and read your generative tweets as they are automatically posted.

We’d love to see the design bots you made! Post your bot’s handle in the comments or @DesignToolBot on Twitter. Enjoy!