Of poets and robots. Twitter bots as everyday literature

Élika Ortega



Twitter folks?

raise your hand!

Twitter's great

Arab Spring

Occupy movements all over the world

Natural dissasters


Hate speech and verbal abuse are not uncommon

A lot of what we don't want to see online

Bots are creative uses of Twitter that benefit from the platforms affordances and enrich it

What is a Twitter Bot?

  • Automated Twitter account
  • A robot made of code
  • Genre of Electronic Literature

"Bender Rodriguez" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bender_Rodriguez.png#/media/File:Bender_Rodriguez.png

Twitter bots function through an API

There are

potentially endless

kinds of

Twitter bots

Bots work independently or dependently

of Twitter input

(Tully Hansen's "Taxonomy of Twitter Bots")

Some Twitter bots you may be familiar with (and NOT like):

  • Spam bots
  • Noise bots (they're not always bots)
  • Brand/advertising bots

Considering Twitter's bad reputation why should we care?

Bots are a literary genre that can only exist now and due to specific media affordances

Expressive Twitter Bots

  • Poetic,
  • Visual,
  • Comical,
  • Satiric
  • Encyclopedic,
  • etc...


@HaikuD2 by John Burger

@pentametron by Ranjit Bhatnagar


@tiny_star_fields by katie rose

@infinitedesserts by @getdizzzy


@TwoHeadlines y Darius Kazemi

@wtf_is_lfk by Brian Rosenblum


@ClearCongress by Zach Whalen

@StudiesBot by Mark Sample


@everycolorbot by @vogon

@everyword by A. Parrish

Bots usually don't make sense...

And they don't have to.

Part of the point of bots is to make sense (not just linguistic sense) out of what they generate










Remediate dynamics of cut-up and experimental art

Twitter bots "invade" our everyday feeds, they mark moments of the day, they play with language and words, they evoke images

Don't judge the tweet by its cover


A radically contemporary literary genre

Just *there* every day and really any time

Evidence that there's creativity and art in every space




Of poets and robots. Twitter bots as everyday literature

By Élika Ortega

Of poets and robots. Twitter bots as everyday literature

Nerd Night 42 October 15, 2015. http://lawrence.nerdnite.com/2015/10/02/nerd-nite-42-ctrl-alt-tweet/

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