Elizaveta Pritychenko – Twitter bot encyclopedia


DIY, English, 164 pages, 2014, The Netherlands

In the first decade of the commercial internet, the information ecology was of imaginable dimensions. Due to natural growth and the influence of online giants and social media, this has definitively changed, with the creation of an inconceivable amount of available data. Social media in particular is able to proliferate indefinitely. This enormous information production system also has parts generated by software and systems, which has become, as Pritychenko notes in her introduction, a social practice referred to as “data pollution.” Of the different platforms, Twitter, with its brave maintaining of a 144-character format, is perfectly setup as a platform for automatic literature of various kinds, including the specific phenomenon of software bots. This is a survey of “Twitter bot,” whose essential components are: a strategy and (optionally) a reference database. It’s an intriguing collection of processes codified by humans that sometimes use simple algorithms with data, sometimes are funny and sometimes implement inspiring ideas. This usually unnoticed ecosystem of language creatures is nurtured by the software behind it, often referring back to bot-related concepts and culture. The author attempts to establish a bot taxonomy in the first part and in the second she prints an archive of a single day’s bot production spread over one hundred pages, measuring in a tangible way the invisible outcome of “processual writers.”