Over here at 88 Bar, a number of us are tweeting about China, Chinese-related things, and just interesting topics in general. And while we recognize the value of maintaining a strong social media presence, our @88_bartenders Twitter account admittedly hasn’t received as much attention as it should. After a bit of brainstorming, we realized we needed a new member to our team — a robot! Here’s how it works:
The Group Retweet Bot, which I’m lovingly calling “88 Bot” for our group, is designed for a group of Twitter users managing or tweeting from a single Twitter account. It’s especially suited for those discussing a niche topic. It copies tweets they make with a specified hashtag and appends their initials. It’s ideal for folks who contribute to a group blog and also want to tweet from the blog’s Twitter account.
If you tweet: “Cool new thing about China. #88”, and the bot is checking for all tweets with “#88”, it will simply tweet “Cool new thing about China ^AXM”. This should even work if you tweet “#88 Cool new thing about China.”
This bot has the following features:
Follows a specified group of people.
Scans for either a hashtag (for us, that’s #88) or certain keywords (like “China” or “Chinese”) and copy-tweets the message.
It then appends the original Twitter user’s initials (so for Tricia that would be ^TW). This keeps the copy-tweet as short as possible.
Sends a direct message to the user if their tweet, when adding their initials, is too long and asks them to shorten the tweet by such and such characters.
Limits the number of tweets it sends out each time the script runs. You can set this number as low or high as you need to. This helps parse the tweets so that someone following your members and the bot doesn’t see the tweets consecutively.
Why not use Tweetdeck or other multi-user Twitter desktop clients? That’s definitely possible, but sometimes it’s a hassle to remember to do that, especially if you’re tweeting from mobile. 88 Bot automates that process so you can just focus on tweeting. And why can’t our followers just follow all of us? Because sometimes they just want to hear about the China-related material, and not, say, the guy passed out at the Hollywood coffee shop I was visiting a few days ago.
Best part of all? The Group Retweet Bot is fully open source and runs on Python. So be sure to check it out on Github.