Twitter Bots

There was a commercial several years ago for Gas-X which involved a man in a job interview who interpreted several words in his vicinity to be about farting. “I see you graduated top of your GAS,” the interviewer notes. She is interrupted by a secretary who informs her “Your son RIP is on line TOOT.” I think they must have played that commercial a lot because I came to mentally replace that line with “Your son RIP was hit by a CAR.” which I thought would have been much funnier, especially with the nonchalant nod as the only reaction.

Texting Dan about this, we somehow got to making up a long list of alternatives. Your son RIP has been gored by an ox. Your son RIP has been cast back in time by a cruel mage. Your son RIP has been lost at sea. I forgot about them then rediscovered the collection over a year later, which prompted a new bevy of fates for your son, Rip. I thought it would be worth posting them all as individual statements on a dedicated twitter account, but thought back to a major issue that the @ModernStarTrek twitter had encountered.

When we first started on MST, we were quite inspired and posted dozens of times a day. We tried to hold back but it was something of a chore, and if I’m not going to tweet something in the moment, I probably won’t remember to later. After the novelty died off, we posted far too infrequently, taking breaks of over a month before remembering that it existed. To combat these issues, I’ve developed a pair of simple twitter bots. The account manager tweets into a private account as much or as little as they are inspired to do, and the first bot harvests these tweets and stores them in a database. The second bot then doles these out at an adjustable pace.

I’ve already parameterized several of the functions, so the two scripts are now applied to multiple accounts, including @ModernStarTrek, which we are trying to get back to a smooth pace again. See the wonderful and terrible fates of your son, Rip, here at @YourSonRip.

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