Twitter Bots for My Real Friends, Real Bots for My Twitter Friends
December 17, 2014 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Darius Kazemi, aka @tinysubversions, is a bot-maker extrordinaire. Known for his inspiring talk on creativity and the lottery at XOXO last year, Kazemi has founded NaNoGenMo and the Bot Summit, created such wonderful Twitter Bots as Olivia Taters, (actually by @robdubbin) For My Real Friends, Miraculous Pictures and Two Headlines. Today he posted about his process in creating Content Forever, a writeup which covers many angles in creating readable bot writing, including escaping phenomena as the Wikipedia philosophy phenomenon.
posted by dame (15 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Darius didn't make Olivia Taters; that was Rob Dubbin. (via)
posted by danb at 3:12 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh god. Okay. But Darius is still cool.
posted by dame at 3:13 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Olivia Taters is my good friend. I feel like my communications with her have more depth than at least 90% of my other regular human twitter conversations.
posted by young_son at 3:13 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Oliva Taters has been given full strikeout
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:14 PM on December 17, 2014

The digressive style of the random Wikipedia content generator reads a little like Eula Biss:

Pipefishes, like their seahorse relatives, leave most of the parenting duties to the male, which provides all of the postzygotic care for its offspring, supplying them with nutrients and oxygen through a placenta-like connection. It broods the offspring either on distinct region of its body or in a brood pouch.

Several cultures believe the placenta to be or have been alive, often a relative of the baby. Nepalese think of the placenta as a friend of the baby; Malaysian Orang Asli regard it as the baby's older sibling.

That's from a two-minute essay on the topic of Water.
posted by theodolite at 3:17 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought the tool was good fun and really like it. I *love* that Darius is showing off his work in jsfiddle and the entire process, as someone that just finished a class in javascript, I like his approach and showing his work.

I asked Darius on Twitter earlier this week if he could wire it up to Medium. I often find I have a few minutes to kill and don't know what to read over there, so I wish I could put into a form that I have 7 minutes to kill, give me the most highly recommended (by friends, ideally) essay on Medium so I can read it, but he said there's no API at Medium and so far it appears there are no plans for one. :(
posted by mathowie at 3:23 PM on December 17, 2014

I'm a big fan of Bot Twitter. Here's my bot, which was created for me by the wonderful negatendo (he might be a mefite, not sure?) Pretty simple Markov stuff, but the tweets are consistently bizarre and amusing.
posted by naju at 3:49 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

“Known for his inspiring talk on creativity and the lottery at XOXO last year…”

Also, this needs the DariusKazemi tag…
posted by mbrubeck at 3:51 PM on December 17, 2014

I know this thread isn't about @oliviataters, but can someone point me to a link about how it works? It reads a lot like Scott Davies' pre-twitter zephyr bot, the cube. Maybe I should port the cube to twitter? (Someone has probably already done this.)

I really enjoy Darius' work, and the bot space is really the only part of twitter that I have had time to pay attention to lately, so thank you for these links.
posted by at 5:51 PM on December 17, 2014

The most important thing you can do with generative content is give it some kind of context, no matter how subtle. Humans rely on context as a crutch all the time: by publishing on Medium, for example, even crappy things have a kind of gravitas to them. If a human can use a contextual crutch, so can an algorithm!
This is so true. I find NaNoGenMo entries are as delightful for their book-like presentation as they are for their content.

On botmaking in general: Bot and generator projects of all sorts have such a high reward to effort ratio. Bots don't have to be perfect, and they don't have to necessarily be complex, and there aren't people telling you what the "best practices" are for making them.

And they surprise you, at least mildly. Even you, the creator. Simply for that reason, even the bots you make that suck are still kinda fun, in the same way that rolling dice and looking up results in a table is.

Also, although I think some of my enjoyment of it is the result of it being the first completely non-commercial, non-professional conference I've been, Bot Summit is a really good conference. If you're at all into this stuff, you should go!
posted by ignignokt at 6:01 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite] I've heard rumors that Olivia Taters's base corpus is built by automated Twitter searches for keywords commonly used by teenage girls...and then Step 3: Profit?
posted by ignignokt at 6:02 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Feature suggestion: All essays should end with "In conclusion, #{topic} is a land of contrasts."
posted by hot_monster at 6:10 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

How has no one posted any of thricedotted's work here yet?
posted by sadmarvin at 6:21 PM on December 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

There's also Bot Weekly, a weekly roundup of bot news I write that has featured many awesome bots by Darius and others. :)
posted by beaugunderson at 7:53 PM on December 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm a huge fan of Darius's work. I feel like he approaches media and art from the same angle I think Ze Frank does and Jim Henson did - silly, fun, and thought provoking. I participated in NaNoGenMo this year and lately I've been playing around with making twitter bots. Fun stuff!
posted by soplerfo at 8:03 PM on December 17, 2014 [6 favorites]

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