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Twitter bots I have known and loved, #openstudios2012

Yesterday, we hosted an Open Studio, as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.

Maxi and I both presented, Max talked generally about NM, what we do and how we do it, and I presented something a little more off the wall (at least, I like to think so!) — more on that inabit. It was enormous fun, and we had the chance to meet some really interesting people, hopefully they got some useful insight into how we operate, or at least enjoyed a sandwich or two!

Here are my slides from the day…

Unfortunately you won’t get the benefit of the LIVE INTERACTIVE DEMO, so let me also provide a quick run through via the old-fashioned medium of text instead…

Bot #1 — “@sleepstillxmas” — a fairly basic but well meaning fellow. This chap provides timely reminders of the number of sleeps remaining until Christmas Day. Look out, as of today there are a mere 91 sleeps till Xmas. Where does the time go, eh?

Bot #2 — “echobot” — only marginally more sophisticated than our friend, @sleepstillxmas, echobot plugs in to the real-time Twitter stream, listens out for mentions of a particular hashtag, and then rather obnoxiously repeats it out loud for anyone unfortunate enough to be within hearing distance to hear. Siri’s younger, more annoying brother I like to think. Add the #zarvox hashtag for enhanced hilarity. Could be useful for hands-free consumption of tweets, e.g. while driving, as someone generously pointed out yesterday. Source code is here if you’re into that kind of thing.

Bot #3 — “@nmstereo” — now we’re talking! This dude actually starts to get pretty useful, he will tirelessly play any songs sent to him, in form of a Spotify track URI, via Twitter on the NixonMcinnes office stereo, solving the age-old problem of who gets to choose what gets played on the office stereo! He’s a nice demonstration of how playfulness and innovation can evolve into something fairly ‘useful’. Yep, we’ve talked about this guy before, but this is a revamped version that plays nicely with the splendid Mopidy (an open source version of Spotify, for geeks) and should, at least in theory, also play nice with a RaspberryPi. Every workplace should have one… Why not install one in your own office?

Bot #4 — “@bbcweatherbot” — this is an exciting innovation piece for the BBC that we created as part of their Connected Studio initiative. This is programme is designed to spark innovation across the BBC and the digital sector, developing exciting new ideas in partnership with small to medium agencies to create new functions, features or formats for BBC Online audiences. @bbcweatherbot isn’t yet public, but we’ll keep you posted as things develop in this area :)

Lastly, I mentioned yesterday that we’ll be running an introductory course on programming for the uninitiated at the end of October, where we’ll be digging into some of this stuff a bit deeper, and building our own social network for superheroes! If you’re intrigued by possibility, work with digital teams, or just love the social web, then we invite you to ‘get your geek on‘ with us!

You can check out more details at

Thanks ever so! :)

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