Reformed Twitter Bots
Brandon Oliver Smith, March 6 2013
Have you ever mentioned Robocop on Twitter? If you did, one of the film’s most memorable characters likely responded with the line, “I’d buy that for a dollar”.
Like most people, I stumbled across the Bixby Snyder bot by chance. When I named-dropped everyones favourite superhuman cyborg cop in a tweet, the last thing I expected was a flashback to 1987. But there I was, 7 years old in my parents basement, laughing hysterically over the films ridiculous line.
As silly as it sounds, having Bixby auto-tweet at me is right up there with my most memorable Twitter moments. It was fun, humorous, unconventional and completely unexpected. Odd that such a meaningful experience was the result of a technology that has such a terrible reputation for annoyance and spam isn’t it?
A recent campaign for The Walking Dead does a fantastic job at leveraging that oddball space between memorable moments and annoyance. In the campaign, Twitter “zombie” bots would follow people that used the hashtag #walkingdeadNT1. The resulting experience looks like awesome fun for the audience and certainly worthy of offline conversation.
The big take-away here? Even the most despised and unethical web practices can have a silver lining.