Thursday, August 12, 2010

Twitter Bots

I love Twitter. Why? Quite simply, because of the amazing community of helpful, knowledgeable, and diverse people around Twitter. I’ve already met many interesting individuals, both on and offline, because we all participate in the Twitter community. And Twitter keeps getting better through innovation from the community. There is a growing trend here, the use of Twitter bots.

What are Twitter Bots? They are special Twitter accounts that perform a special function and provides you with useful information. Twitter bots come in 2 basic flavors:

1) Push Bots - These bots don’t do anything fancy. Once you start to follow them, they broadcast messages to you. The most common uses of push bots to date have been by sports teams (for scoring updates) and weather forecasts.

2) Pull Bots – These bots are more sophisticated than push bots. You can interact with them by using Direct Message commands. The features of pull bots greatly exceed push bots. Pull bots operate as micro-applications behind the scenes, processing commands from a Twitter user, doing some work and then sending the result/data back to the original user via a Direct Message.

A simple example is the Timer bot. It’s Twitters version of a personal reminder service. Here’s how it works:

  • Follow Timer bot
  • Send a direct message to timer like this “d timer 45 call mom’

The timer bot will save your request, wait 45 minutes before sending a direct message reminder back to your Twitter account that says ‘call mom’

Here is a list of some of the more popular Twitter Bots. If you have others you find useful, add them to the comments and I will update the list.

  • gCal - Add Google Calendar events
  • HappyTwitDay - Send Happy Birthday Wishes
  • WineTweets - Share what you’re drinking with other wine lovers on Twitter (check this out @garyvee)
  • TweetBeep - Track topics in Twitter and have them emailed to you
  • Tipr - Tells you the amount you should leave for a tip when dining out


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