Say hello to Juniorbot

Junior’s Twitterbot ponders the future of digital and puts a cool picture in your Twitter feed every day.

Last week as we were preparing to put Junior into the world, we began to rationalize all the reasons why maintaining a company Twitter account outside our own personal Twitter timelines didn’t make a whole lot of sense:

  1. Talking with companies on Twitter can be disingenuous.
    I find it slightly creepy when brands interact as people-entities vs. customer-service entities. Do we really want anyone — ourselves, or even a clever writer — trying to build a ‘brand voice’ and give congratulatory hi-five retweets to others?
  2. Why wouldn’t we just ask people to follow us as individuals?
    Or create a Twitter List? Seems like a better way to know what’s going on in all our worlds.
  3. Where’s the mystery?
    Given we’re just launching the company, maybe maintaining an air of mysteriousness is better?

Good conversation. I then jokingly said we should just make a robot and let it tweet for us. That’s about as much time as we have.

So then Junior Apprentice Engineer Ashwath Anand took that comment to heart, and a day later — violia! We had @JuniorIvents.

And man, that Juniorbot a snarky bastard.

It’s built on a Raspberry Pi Model 2B, Juniorbot is equipped with a Pi camera and some Python code to snap a sequence of photos at sunrise every day from our 19th floor window in downtown San Francisco. We overlook the new Transbay site construction and the Bay Bridge, and it’s quite lovely, weather permitting. Juniorbot then compiles these images into an animated gif, along with some other data overlaid as visuals:

  • A time-stamp and the current weather.
  • Junior’s logo, because brand.
  • Some programmatically-generated marketing-jargon that attempts to capture the gestalt (and ridiculousness) of digital punditry. It’s assembled from text that sometimes makes sense.

That’s right. Juniorbot tries to make bits of random techno-babble sound like intelligent, re-tweetable wisdom. And you know what? It kind of does a good job at it. Which makes it all the more amazing, given we cobbled it together in a few hours.

We then grab today’s nonsensical holiday (and there are a ton of them) using BeautifulSoup and construct the actual tweet text, then push it the images and tweet once a day to @JuniorInvents. That’s it.

Why follow Juniorbot? A few reasons:

  • You want a cool SF sunrise pic in your feed every day.
  • You need a complicated way to know the time and weather in downtown San Francisco at our hyper-specific location (maybe you’re on floor 18?).
  • Like me, you think Juniorbot drops pearls of re-tweetable wisdom every once in a while.
  • You’re a Twitter spambot and you’re just trying to be friendly to other bots. Bots gotta stick together.
  • You clicked “follow” on accident.

And apologies if you are looking for something more from our Twitter account/presence than a daily pic of the San Francisco at sunrise — but you could do worse in your feed, you know.

OK. Back to work.