15 June 2008

Twitter, Bots & Twitterbotting

Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates, which may be viewed by anyone or restricted to a user group. Such messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including SMS, IM, Email or Web.

Twitter is the prototypical micro-blogging service and allows users to send text-based posts up to 140 characters long, called "tweets", to the Twitter web site. One of the main advantages of using Twitter is that it provides a functional gateway between the web and the mobile phone via SMS text messaging compatibility. Christina Laun recently posted a handy primer, Twitter for Librarians: The Ultimate Guide.

There are now a growing number of Twitter applications for travel and tourism:
  • The Multimap Twitter bot helps you to access maps, directions and local information by sending messages via twitter.
  • The Nelso Twitter bot will help you find bars, restaurants, hotels, shopping, and other businesses in Europe.
  • The Twanslate Twitter bot is capable of translating anything you throw at it, and for on the go translation when all you have is your phone.
I’ve now added feeds from Twitter for all 234 countries to my Destination Meta-Guide.com 2.0 semantic mashup, for instance at:
I’ve also created two Twitterbots already:
Twitter bots are actually special Twitter users that provide information, either upon request or as it becomes available. There are at least two good web sites about Twitter bots:
  • twitterbotting.com is a site to help folks get quick info about creating new Twitterbots.
  • retweet.com helps to discover Twitter, one bot at a time.
A web feed is a data format used to provide users with frequently updated content. RSS is a web feed format used to publish frequently updated content, such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts. Yahoo! Pipes is a web application for building applications that aggregate web feeds, web pages, and other services. A combination of data from more than one source in a single integrated application is called a mashup.

Web feeds or mashups can be sent into Twitter with twitterfeed.com . And, feeds can be sent out of Twitter with loudtwitter.com . Feeds can also be exported from Twitter using sites like tweetscan.com or summize.com .
Using the Twitter Facebook application I’ve managed to get Twitter talking to the Facebook status message. I’ve also added the Twitter Badge for Blogger to my blog (at right). And thanks to a new ping.fm beta account, I’ve been able to add my Linkedin status message into this loop.

Now if I can just send Twitter feeds into a chatbot knowledgebase….

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