This post really puts the “miscellaneous ramblings” in my “Book Reviews & Other Miscellaneous Ramblings” tagline….
Making a Twitter Bot
I have mentioned this on here before, but my free time is not entirely taken up by obsessive reading… I also sometimes work on programming projects.
During one of my procrastination YouTube rabbit holes the other day, I stumbled upon some videos about the Twitter API. Intrigued by the possibilities, I did some more research, and applied for a Twitter Developer account shortly afterwards. Here’s what I learned.
*Obligatory Disclaimer- I am not very experienced with any of this, so definitely seek out other resources if you want to learn more about it*
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface, and since I am not even close to an expert on this topic I would encourage you to read freeCodeCamp.org’s article on them. Basically, they allow you to write software that interfaces with another website. E.g. by using the Twitter API, you’re able to write code to do things on Twitter.
There are all sorts of interesting things you can do with this, and I had no idea until recently.
You can analyze data from Twitter for research purposes. You can make graphs from this data. You can track hashtags. You can make bot accounts.
What is a Twitter bot?
According to Pew Research Center, around 66% of tweets linking to popular websites are posted by bots rather than by human users. Bot accounts are just accounts that are automated. You can write code to program an account to retweet things, like things, follow people, analyze different hashtags– the possibilities are endless, as long as you still follow Twitter’s community guidelines.
My Retweet Bot
I spent the entire afternoon watching tutorials and just experimenting with different things until I finally finished… something… before I went to bed. I used Python and the Python Tweepy library to create a retweet bot.
The gist of my meager idea is that since you can’t follow hashtags on Twitter (at least, you can’t right now), so I wanted to create a centralized place for people to be able to find new bloggers. It’s not an amazing, revolutionary or extremely practical idea, but… it was fun to make.
It’s still live right now– the username is @bookblogSO and it automatically retweets anything using the hashtag #shoutoutmybookblog
So far a couple people have used the hashtag, which I’m honestly surprised about since that’s more than I had been expecting. Follow the bot here!
Reflections on Joining Book Twitter
Switching gears… let’s spend the rest of this post talking about Book Twitter in general. I reactivated my Twitter account last month (I had one in 2020 for a short time)
So far, it’s been pretty good. I love how WordPress lets you automatically tweet links to your posts as you publish them through your blog, and as long as you stay on the right side of Twitter, the people are friendly.
I’ve heard about scandals going down on Book Twitter, but so far I have not witnessed any, which is good. I do think the feed is really busy– it’s so hard to see everyone’s tweets when so many people post so often, and you see whenever anyone likes something as well.
I don’t regret joining Twitter– it seems to be a pretty low-stress platform when it’s integrated with WordPress.
That’s it for today! I’m not sure what this post was supposed to be, but thank you for reading!
Are you on Twitter? Do you use it for your blog? Do you like coding?
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Classical music piece of the day: Beethoven- Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 “Pathétique”