“NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Tweets Following Followers 159 0 24 NRA Tally @NRA_Tally Keeping score of the NRA's greatest hits. Fairfax, Virginia everyadage Kathi Inman Berens Brett O'Connor Alex Gil Followed by everyadage, Kathi Inman Berens, Brett O'Connor and 2 others. NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 38m 30 postal workers killed in San Francisco with a AR-15 assault rifle. The NRA steps up lobbying efforts. Details NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 4h 22 restaurant diners murdered in Jacksonville with a 10mm Glock. The NRA reports a fivefold increase in membership.
Open “NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Created in the wake of a mass shooting event in Isla Vista, California, this bot takes aim at the National Rifle Association and the rhetorical strategies it uses to protect the industry and gun culture it lobbies for. He accompanied it with a manifesto titled “A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit: A call for bots of conviction” in which he invites the creation of bots which are “topical, data-based, cumulative, and oppositional” (here’s an updated version). He also explains how his bot @NRA_Tally meets these characteristics and goes into great detail on the data sources that inform the bot’s generation of murderous hypothetical scenarios, such as this one:

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“No Way to Prevent This” by The Onion staff writers

Open "'No Way to Prevent This' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" by The Onion
Open “No Way to Prevent This” by The Onion staff writers

This short article written by the staff writers of the satirical newspaper The Onion, was published in response to a mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015. Published on the same day of the event, the brief article appears in the News in Brief portion of the online newspaper, by itself an ironic counterpoint to what made headlines and got live coverage in other news media sites. The article’s placement and brevity are only the beginning of the irony, which deepens as it offers some basic factual details about the shooting, a vox populi quote in which someone expresses sadness and powerlessness to make any change, and some statistical data on how regularly this happens in the United States of America. All by itself, the article satirizes those who cannot conceive of gun control as an option while using irony to encourage Americans to take action.

But that is only a portion of a larger rhetorical strategy based on computational logic.

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Werner Twertzog– Back from the Dead

TwertzogBack

Werner Twertzog is back from the void of Twitter deactivation.

My recent entry on Werner Twertzog’s disappearance came a couple of weeks after his June 18 exit, announced on a tweet that I missed at the time and had no access to because upon deactivation, all of his tweets disappear from Twitter’s public interfaces and are reported as nonexistent.

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Werner Twertzog– he dead?

TwertzogProfileWayback
Internet Archive snapshot of Werner Twertzog’s Twitter page on February 27, 2015.

Werner Twertzog (@WernerTwertzog) is a persona that performs a parodic homage of German filmmaker Werner Herzog on Twitter. This humorous account does an admirable job of capturing Herzog’s voice in (necessarily) brief, aphoristic tweets that express his existentialist perspective and wry humor.

Performing a celebrity’s persona for artistic, humorous, and/or political purposes has recently become a social media trend. Some notable examples are @SlavojTweezek, @TheTweetOfGod, God (on Facebook), and Kim Kierkegaardashian. Werner Herzog’s inimitable verbal style has even been the subject of a series of YouTube videos by Ryan Iverson, such as “Werner Herzog Reads Where’s Waldo?” The Twitter account, Werner Twertzog, has been so successful that its last name has become a term (“Twertzog: To tweet (verb) or a tweet (noun) in a dark, German style that seems erudite, absurd, and possibly morbid.” see this recent interview), a hashtag #twertzog, and a day-long celebration on September 5 (see image below) in which people try to tweet like Werner Twertzog (see image below).

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@godtributes by @deathmtn

Open "@godtributes" by @deathmtn
Open “@godtributes” by @deathmtn

Poetry is traditionally conceived as a refined, patterned and stylised language produced by skilled writers and orators. Not so for twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. His highly influential and counter-intuitive philosophy, encapsulated in the dictum “language speaks man”, suggests that poets do not make poetry, but poetry poets. It is not a question of self-expression, but of “listening” for language’s “call”. According to Heidegger, this “call” takes us beyond the “mortal” towards the “heavenly”, “the Unknown One”, “god”. I wonder, then, what he would make of @godtributes, a charming little Twitter bot that “listens” to your tweet and “calls” it out back to you, transformed into an (ir)reverent tribute to an incidental, aleatoric deity.

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“Hotel Minotauro” by Doménico Chiappe

Open “Hotel Minotauro” by Doménico Chiappe – Version: Spanish | English

Doménico Chiappe, a Peruvian-Venezuelan writer and a journalist currently living in Madrid, has written and produced two delightful works of electronic literature: Tierra de extracción (1996-2007) and Hotel Minotauro (2013-2014). His works depict a critical and pleasant voyage to diverse Latin-American landscapes where poetry within prose, and prose within poetry, submerge the reader into hypermedial embedded narratives.

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“Word Crimes” by Weird “Al” Yankovic and Jarrett Heather

"Word Crimes" by Weird "Al" Yankovic
Open “Word Crimes” by “Weird Al” Yankovic and Jarrett Heather

“Word Crimes”  is an official music video designed and animated by Jarrett Heather for “Weird Al” Yankovic.  The video uses kinetic typography and evocative visual images to reinforce the didactic tone.  The song is a parody of Robin Thicke’s own “Blurred Lines” employing its catchy tune, lyric structure, and even typography (as in the case of the hashtags) repurposed tosatirizes common ways that language is used incorrectly in writing.

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“Deal With It” Meme by Matt Furie and You

Deal-With-It-Skateboarding-Cat-Gif“Deal with it” is a meme based on a popular phrase or expression that uses image macros and/or animated GIFs as a snarky response when someone else notes disapproval, most frequently used online forums or social networks. This meme is characterized by an image of an iconic person, celebrity, or event, accompanied by the descending of sunglasses upon the subject’s face and revealing a caption which says “Deal with it.”

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Slenderman, The Marble Hornets, and Totheark

slenderman-1-708110Remember those chain emails your most obscure contacts would send you during the wee hours of the night that read something like “IF U DON’T FWD DIS A CREEPY CRAWLY GHOST OF A GIRL WILL COME OUT OF DA CLOSET AND KILL U” ?

Well they’re back. And they’re coming to get you for not forwarding all those emails.

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“Snowclone-a-Minute (@snowcloneminute)” by Bradley Momberger and “Pizza Clones (@pizzaclones)” by Allison Parrish

These two bots are based on the concept of snowclones, which are a linguistic phenomenon best described by Erin O’Connor in her wonderful blog and resource “The Snowclones Database.”

A snowclone is a particular kind of cliche, popularly originated by Geoff Pullum. The name comes from Dr. Pullum’s much-maligned “If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z”. An easier example might be “X is the new Y.” The short definition of this neologism might be n. fill-in-the-blank headline.

Fill in the blank mnemonic phrases? This is ripe for a bot treatment.

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