Twitter bots have a bad name Because we are used to calling exclusively automated accounts that try to impersonate legitimate users, usually for advertising or information manipulation purposes.

But Twitter allows developers to use accounts to run small task automation programs. In some cases, these are interactive, and allow us to use them to make life easier when handling information on Twitter.

Do we need, for example, to download a video? Maybe create tweet reminders? We can do all that with bots. Here is a small sample:

Thread Reader

Sometimes, the Twitter threads host some of the most interesting content that we can find on this social network. But many find uncomfortable reading in this format (And things get worse if we try to share the URL with people who are not very fond of Twitter).

Fortunately, Thread Reader (@ThreadReaderApp) allows us, if we answer the thread mentioning the bot and the word “unroll”, create a URL where we can see all tweets in the thread as if they were different paragraphs of the same post from a blog. And from there we can even save everything as PDF.

DownloadThisVideo

Download a video embedded in a tweet This is not a trivial task: there is no facility to right-click and select “Save Image As” as with still images. So it is possible that you have ever seen someone else tweeting reply to one of those tweets by quoting the user “@this_vid”.

Behind this user is the DownloadThisVideo bot, whose purpose is very simple: respond to these replies with links that allow you to download the videos in question in a simple way through the server thisvid.space.

The problem is that Twitter bots can only send 300 automated tweets every 3 hours, and the enormous popularity of DownloadThisVideo tends to test this limitation, preventing @this_vid from notifying you even if the download URL is already active.

A trick: Since the URL always has the following structure: thisvid.space + username of the requesting tweeter, you can try to enter it approximately 1 min. after asking you to download the video.

Remind Me Of This Tweet

If a tweet catches your eye, but you don’t have time at the moment to investigate itYou can do two things. One, adding the tweet to “Saved Items”, thus running the risk of being forgotten in that digital transcript of a lost and found section.

The second option is to use the Remind Me of This Tweet (@RemindMe_OfThis) bot, which will do is remind you of the existence of the tweet in question in a while: two weeks, two hours, tomorrow night, August 3 … as you choose. As long as, of course, you say it in English (and in the simplest way possible).

To ensure that you have understood your order well, the bot responds by informing you when exactly the existence of the tweet will remind you. If something has gone wrong, answer “cancel” and you’re done. If not, when the time comes he will reply to the tweet by mentioning you.

Note: “Remind Me Tweets” is a bot with similar functions, which we have already discussed in Genbeta.

Tweetstamp

OpenTimestamps aims to be a standard format for online “time stamps”, which allow prove the existence of a certain content by adding its hash to the Bitcoin blockchain. Tweetstamp uses it to demonstrate the existence of a tweet before it is deleted, as a more reliable alternative to the always manipulable screenshots.

All we have to do to use it is reply to the tweet that we want to stamp, mentioning @tweet_stamp and the word “stamp” in the answer. In a few seconds, the bot will reply providing us with the permanent link with all the information about the tweet.

A second alternative is to send the URL of the tweet to be sealed by DM to @tweet_stamp: in this way, the bot will also respond to us privately And no one will know that we want to have proof of the existence of the tweet.

BBC Micro Bot

In the British educational field, a computer called BBC Micro triumphed in the 1980s, which, among other things, allowed program in BASIC.

His current fans have proposed to pay tribute to him with @BBCMicroBot, which allows us to mention him in a tweet with BASIC code and that answer us with a short video which shows the result of its execution.

Of course 280 characters do not give for great programming virtuosities, but it is still curious.