Making My First Twitter Bot with CheapBotsDoneQuick

My Twitter feed includes real humans, and also some bots. Some of my favorites are @hamilbots, @yayfrens, @softlandscapes, and @generativebot.

I’ve worked at Twitter for about a year and I hadn’t written a bot before! So I gave it a try, and wrote @BingoBits and @DailyOblo.

Cheap Bots Done Quick

Cheap Bots Done Quick is a really neat site that makes it almost trivial to write your first Twitter bot.

Bots are written in Tracery, a generative grammar specified as a JSON string. Here’s an example bot:

{
"origin": ["this could be a tweet", "this is #alternatives# tweet"],
"alternatives": ["an example", "a different"]
}

See? Pretty simple! No worries about hosting, logic, etc. Working with Tracery is an interesting problem of constraints. There are plenty of bots that I would like to make that involve more programming than you could reasonably support with Tracery. But Tracery is still pretty expressive, and there’s something to be said for being able to run a bot basically without any effort.

@DailyOblo

SET-inspired bot that tweets a game board once a day.

(oblo means “group of things” in Esperanto, aka a SET.)

I generated the SVGs, as well as the Tracery formatting, with some super-hacky Python code. Source is at cheapbotsdonequick.com/source/dailyoblo.

@BingoBits

Scrabble bot that tweets part of a 7- or 8- letter bingo once a day. (i.e. it’ll tweet 6 letters of a 7 letter word, or 7 letters of an 8 letter word.) Word lists from the Seattle Scrabble Club.

There are more bingos there, too…!

This required basically no programming, just a bit of awk to extract the words from the files above. Source is at cheapbotsdonequick.com/source/BingoBits.

My favorite part of this one is that I’m actually engaging with it! I’ve been trying to memorize more bingos lately — and get better at spotting potential ones — so having them randomly scattered through my Twitter feed is pretty great.

TLDR; CheapBotsDoneQuick is cool

Cheap Bots Done Quick makes it super-easy to write a Twitter bot! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! And maybe peruse https://botwiki.org/, too, while you’re at it.

Do you have some favorite bots? Articles I should be reading before I plan my next bot project? Send ’em my way, I’d love to see.

This was cross-posted from http://blog.bonnieeisenman.com/projects/two-twitter-bots/.