Bots We Talk About When We Talk About Twitter Bots: Towards a Toolkit for Collecting and Classifying Bespoke Twitter Bots
The term Twitter bots covers a large (and growing) number of creatively motivated, largely lexically based cultural artefacts published online to the Twitter platform, works which encompass a diversity of styles, practices and implementations. As a result of this continuous expansion and extension of the genre, it becomes increasingly difficult to discuss Twitter bots as literary and artistic form with any specificity. An apparent dearth of clearly defined and accepted ‘terms of art’ identifying traits and practices within the bot corpus and community hampers precise and meaningful critical engagement with the form. Furthermore, the ephemerality of Twitter as a publishing platform sets the network at odds with efforts towards analysis and identification of trends. To this end, the current project seeks to construct and publish an archive of extant Twitter bot data, along with the tools used in collection, in order that others may make use of and build on both. Going further, the project aims at producing a draft specification by which the particular qualities of individual bots may be quantified for purposes of comparison and analysis across the corpus, taking as a model the ‘cultural genome mappings’ used in commercial recommendation engines for various media, such as Pandora’s Music Genome Project (audio) and Netflix’s Quantum Theory (video).
Bots we Talk About PDF (.5MB)