“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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@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.

Read more@godtributes by @deathmtn

@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

modernistbots
Open @BlackBoughBot, @DependsUponBot, & @JustToSayBot by Mark Sample

This trio of bots by Mark Sample present riffs on three of the most famous poems of the early Twentieth Century: William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say,” and Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro.” The bots generate new versions of the poems by randomly altering most of the open word classes while keeping the basic syntax, meter and lineation intact, tweeting a new mutation once every two hours (though at the time of writing @DependsUponBot has been inactive since December 2014, for reasons unknown —editor’s note: it has now resumed operations). To my mind, the pleasure of these bots’ tweets lies in the discrepancy between the familiarity of the syntactical structure and the limit-case absurdity of the randomly generated content. For example, the sublime juxtaposition Pound presents the reader –

Read more@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

I ♥ Bots

I love bots
Open “Genre: Bot

If you have been reading my daily entries on bots, and have explored the resource that compiles them, you may have noticed the great variety, sophistication, and artistry that characterizes this emergent genre. With these daily postings, I have tried to take a snapshot of a vibrant moment for this artistic and literary practice, knowing all along that it is growing too quickly to fully capture.

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“Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

 Save the Humanities @SaveHumanities  Daily tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions! (Machine Generated by @samplereality)
Open “Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

At face value this bot seeks solutions to what many call “the crisis of the Humanities” by offering “tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions!” Its operation is conceptually straightforward: it completes a sentence template that begins with “To save the humanities, we need to” and then completes the sentence, I imagine with the results of a search in Twitter for tweets that contain “we need to” or “we must.” This creates grammatically correct sentences that offer solutions that vary in their fit or appropriateness. For example:

Read more“Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

“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.

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

Juxtaposition Bots: @TwoHeadlines, @oneiropoiesis, and @AndNowImagine

The three bots reviewed in this entry all carry out essentially the same technique– they create a tweet based on the juxtaposition of material from two different sources–  yet produce output that feels quite different. The reasons for this are partly thematic, partly due to the data source, and partly because of the way the join the juxtaposed elements.

An important early bot that uses this technique is Ranjit Bhatnagar’s @Pentametron, which retweets iambic pentameter tweets joined by end rhyme and creating surprisingly cohesive and occasionally humorous couplets. Juxtaposition is also a poetic technique that became prominent with Modernism and is a central strategy in Ezra Pound’s poetry and poetics. This entry will analyze “Two Headlines” by Darius Kazemi, “Dreams, juxtaposed” by Allison Parrish, and “And Now Imagine” by Ivy Baumgarten.

Read moreJuxtaposition Bots: @TwoHeadlines, @oneiropoiesis, and @AndNowImagine

“#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

 #FalseFlag Bot Tweets Following Followers 25.9K 4 546 #FalseFlag Bot @FalseFlagBot_  Replacement for @FalseFlagBot R.I.P. #nWo #illuminati #falseflag  right behind you!
Open “#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

This deceptively simple bot searches Twitter for the #FalseFlag hashtag and retweets the results. Here’s an example of its output:

The concept of the false flag is born from mistrust of the government and lends itself to elaborate conspiracy theories about covert operations on its own soil which are then blamed on terrorists. During the Bot Summit, Ben Abraham discussed this concept and explained some of his interest in redoing the original @FalseFlagBot, as seen in this video. Some of the conspiracy theory hashtags he mentions and a few others were conveniently listed (and retweeted by the original @FalseFlagBot) in this tweet.

Read more“#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

“Real Human Praise (@RealHumanPraise)” by Rob Dubbin and Leonard Richardson

 Real Human Praise Tweets Following  Followers 164K 0  14.7K Real Human Praise @RealHumanPraise  Legitimate reviews from 100% people, every two minutes.  Scott McNally Lee Skallerup BestOf TheBots Bot Bot  Followed by Scott McNally, Lee Skallerup, BestOf TheBots and Bot Bot.      Real Human Praise ‏@RealHumanPraise 40s      As much as it is a comedy in the classic Tracy/Hepburn mold, "Huckabee" is very much a drama of the moment. #PraiseFOX     Details     Real Human Praise ‏@RealHumanPraise 2m      Smith's best comedy. #PraiseFOX     Details
Open “Real Human Praise (@RealHumanPraise)” by Rob Dubbin and Leonard Richardson

This bot takes Tweet-sized snippets of text from movie reviews aggregated in Rotten Tomatoes, identifies nouns in the subject position, and replaces those with the names of right-wing pundits who appear regularly on the Fox News Channel, attaching the ironically intended hashtag #PraiseFOX. The bot was created essentially as joke for the politically charged comedy show The Colbert Report, as a reaction to the news that right-wing media had staff dedicated to refuting anything threatening to their ideological point of view, as explained by Stephen Colbert in the clip below.

Read more“Real Human Praise (@RealHumanPraise)” by Rob Dubbin and Leonard Richardson

“Is it Art? (@IsItArtBot)” and “Why Can’t We Date? (@WhyCantWeDate)” by Patrick Rodriguez

These two bots generate responses to questions that have such subjective answers that no number of responses can really satisfy anyone, but do so in thought-provoking and amusing fashion.

 Is it art? @IsItArtBot  Yeah, but is it art?  twitter.com/LightAesthetic
Open “Is it art? (@IsItArtBot)” by Patrick Rodriguez

“Is it art?” explores the challenge to the art world posed by the readymade Dada sculpture “Fountain,” attributed to Marcel Duchamp. His gesture of sending a standard urinal to be displayed in galleries as an art object, with a title and signed “R. Mutt” was very controversial and provoked questions about the nature of art. This bot is on an endless rant on the artistic or not artistic nature of different things, making statement such as:

Read more“Is it Art? (@IsItArtBot)” and “Why Can’t We Date? (@WhyCantWeDate)” by Patrick Rodriguez

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