Friday, January 30, 2009

Cincinnati Twitter Bots

I was inspired by the DIYcity challenge #1, but (selfishly) since I don't drive very much, I wasn't inspired enough to work directly on the TrafficTweet concept.

But in the introduction to the challenge they mention a twitter bot called shakeshack. The shakeshack bot has a very simple purpose in life and that is to retweet reports on how long the line is at a restaurant called the Shake Shack in NYC. This is useful for fans of that restaurant who want to know if it's worth stopping by. If the line is too long (since it is a popular joint) they can avoid it, and if the line is short, then they can make the trip. People who are interested in the info just follow shakeshack. People who are at shakeshack can tweet @ messages to it, and it will rewtweet their messages automatically to the rest.

So, today I had lunch at Chipotle on Fountain Square and I was thinking about how I could really use a similar service for knowing whether or not to walk all the way down there. Fountain Square Chipotle tends to have a pretty long line usually, but sometimes it's short, and on those days, I would want to visit.

So, I found this site called that lets you create a basic retweeting bot like the shakeshack bot and I made an account called fschipotlebot. (Maybe I should have gone with fschipotle. Oh well.) So, if you send an @ message to the bot, it will retweet it to its followers. Any information on line length, etc, is the goal here. Like today I would have tweeted "@fschipotlebot line is almost to the second doors. Looks like maybe a new employee in the burrito-construction team."

Anyway, if it gets used, that will be awesome, so check it out. Using the service was dead-simple (it took me about 30 minutes) and is all this bot really needed. In the future, I'd like to move onto making more complicated bots, that I will probably have to script and run on my own hosting. Let me know if you have any thoughts on other useful twitter bots!