Twitter bots are nothing new. They’ve been fixture since the earliest days of the social network. But in recent months, they seem to have bubbled up from the public subconsciousness into the zeitgeist. Election meddling. Brexit. Mind manipulation. Twitter bots have acquired a bad rap — rightfully so in many cases — but with this increased awareness and interest in the botsphere, as well as the development of easy-to-use botmaking tools, creative and fun twitter bots abound along with the nefarious.
I limit the number of accounts I follow in my primary feed on Twitter. In my opinion, staying as close as you can to Dunbar’s number is a good rule of thumb. Still, I make room a number of bots within my self-imposed (and fairly flexible) Following limit. They add a bit of levity to my feed. Here are a few of my favorites.
I hope that Twitter’s recent crackdown on bots doesn’t cull the good, in an attempt to root out the bad. There is good yet in the botsphere.
Archive and Library Bots
Scanned books from the Smithsonian via the Internet Archive. Also, previously by @tinysubversions, @MuseumBot.
Random YouTube image or video glitches every 3 hours
Random objects from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art
Gif images from 1992 “Gifs Galore” CD.
Random flyers from hip hop’s formative years
Animal (mainly bird) videos sourced from @macaulaylibrary (defunct)
Amazing pictures throughout history
Tweeting the census one real American at a time.
Generating book covers and titles in a specific left-wing intellectual style.
A satire of millennial explain-pieces.
Cities, towns, villages, hamlets, conurbations, burghs, municipalities, metropoles https://twitter.com/metropologeny/status/971053664138924032
An atlas of unknown lands
Soothing landscapes, every 6 hours. Similar: @_cavebot
Cities and their slogans from nearby sideways dimensions
Comparing the relative price of things
Magical realism plot elements
Asking whether things are gay
Blowing your mind with progressions of concepts. Uses abstraction chains from ConceptNet.
Jack Kerouac. Daily.
Bot that highlights the changes in the news on the main page of @nytimes. Plus, @NYT_said_where
Anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress.
Many great botmakers accept donations via patreon and other platforms. I’d encourage everyone to send a donation their way. Pick your favorite. Support their others project. Small donations add up and also gives these individuals encouragement to keep creating interesting internet art.
Let me know if I should add any other bootmakers to the list, and I will. If you have a favorite Twitter bot not listed here, I’d love to check it out.
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