So long, Twitter bots

In August 2019, I learned that my alma mater was shutting down a Twitter account which existed solely to tweet both the current scores and the active results of NCAA sporting competitions.

I wanted to learn more about machine learning anyway, so I hacked together a Twitter feed that approximated this same service by looking at the individual accounts for each team — e.g. basketball, field hockey, track and field — and categorized each tweet as a sport score or not. It was a fun, magical project. Since I’d already put together this framework, I also decided to extend it to Fantasy Premier League as well.

I used to absolutely love Twitter — I joined in March 2007. My use of it started to fall off in 2016, and I left for good last year, locking my account, deleting the app, and even modifying my machine’s hosts file so that wouldn’t load. Since these bots we just trucking along by themselves, I figured: no harm in letting them continue to run!

But now, the API on which these bots run is going to be monetized, and I’m definitely not going to pay to keep these little toys running. So I just pulled the plug on them for good.

I’m glad that a federated universe of websites that can talk to each other has already sprung up. Mastodon bots are so much easier to write. Here’s one that posts every song I listen to.

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