Twitter bots: The weird, the strange and the truly odd

I’ve talked about Twitter bots (automated Twitter accounts – the “bots” is short for “robots”) before, about their role in education and the weirdness that is social media. Today, however, I’m going to show you a different type of example: some are quirky, others interesting, and a few are downright entertaining.

One of my favourites is the Big Ben bot. On the hour, every hour, it tweets Big Ben’s bongs. This is possibly more useful if you live in the UK, but it would provide a fun distraction no matter where you are. Although I confess that I do not understand why so many people favourite and re-tweet this one. “News” it is not.

 

Do you remember the movie The Sound of Music? Of course you do, we all do, or at least you do if you’re over 30. So, you remember the song “My Favourite Things”? Of course you do, that movie has the most inexplicably memorable songs of any movie, ever. There is a Twitter bot that will send you a snippet of the song’s lyrics, with certain key words substituted. Very amusing. The annoying part is that once you see the tweets, it will be impossible to get that song out of your head the rest of the day. Trust me on this.

 

This is really very clever. Dear Assistant is a search-engine-based bot created to answer your questions. Sure, Google could do that as well, but this is more fun.

 

I actually follow this one: a bot that tweets random images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, several times a day. Eye candy, or brain candy, or whatever, it’s a break from so much tech stuff.

 

The MomaRobot does the same, from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

 

CongressEdits is one part surreal, one part worrying, and one part encouraging. It detects when a Wikipedia entry is edited from a government IP address. The surreal aspect is obvious, I suppose (why would we care?), the worrying part comes from the “why aren’t they revising policies and improving accountability?”, and the encouragement comes from realising that the people running the US government know a lot about a lot of different things.

 

Mothgenerator uses Javascript to generate images of imaginary moths, assigns them believable names, and shares them with the world. Why? No idea, but it’s cool.

 

This one is actually quite beautiful. Micropoetry on @poem_exe. I don’t know how they do it, but some of them almost make some sort of sense.

 

While not exactly Artificial Intelligence, these Twitter bots are surprising, uplifting and sometimes hilarious. Although usually the hilarity stems from the split between their apparent depth of meaning and their beautiful irrelevance.

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