For my final project and paper, I was really interested in the Twitter Bot as an artistic and expressive medium. As a lover of automation both large and small, I thought that the idea of creating a machine that could produce a unique aesthetic as well as possibly gain a following was very cool and intriguing, not to mention also being the perfect solution to my relatively dead social media life.
Therefore the idea was to create a Twitter bot inspired by the works of @choochoobot and @infinite deserts, two Twitter bots that used emojis and ASCII characters respectively to create unique images depicting scenes of either a train passing through various locations or various sights in an imaginary text-based desert. As someone who has also lived in Japan, I was immediately reminded of the diverse usage of ASCII characters in text messaging especially in the form of faces known as “Kaomoji”. Inspired once more, I decided to create a Twitter bot that would display my current (or for now, random) mood and some cute, fun Kaomoji emoticons to with said mood. And after some effort, some thinking, and some help from IMA fellows Jack and Nick, (not to mention source code from the ever amazing Roopa and Jiwon), I was able to complete a pretty solid early model of my intended Twitter bot.
The connection to my paper is found in the idea that my paper was focused on the idea of the convergence between art and automation. Can art that is automated and sent out be considered art? Can art that is made without human touch or emotion, made in a matter of seconds belong in a craft that has existed for millennia? The answer to that question for me is yes. I see the Twitter bot not as an artist, but an artistic medium, a way by which an artist expresses their craft and explores it through the use of automation. The twitter bot allows for an artist to render almost every possible combination of an idea once set up and does the work that the artist intended and dreamt of while also allowing them to think and work on their next big idea. The combination of art and automation can be fun, exciting, and imaginative (and useful!) and that is something I hope to have captured in my own Twitter bot.
In a post-mortem aspect, I believe that my project does indeed meet many of my goals. For one, it works, it can post almost directly on Twitter and each post is almost sure to be unique. The use of the Twitter bot in my project is fun, cute, and simple, and in that scenario, I believe that I have accomplished something great. On the flip side, however, I would like for there to be more of a range of choice of emotions as well as Kaomoji. The sampling size while ok, could and should definitely be larger and most importantly I would like in the future for my Twitter bot to be capable of running on a semi-permanent basis. I was not able to figure out the SetInterval code to further automate my bot so it is still a process of constantly reloading the script for each post and that is in no way ideal. There are many things I would like to do with my bot, and though it has indeed come quite a ways I acknowledge and accept that this is merely the start of a long and fulfilling journey.