Sep 05

Twitterbot roundup – extending Twitter for multiple uses

twitter.gif My good friend Scott Lemon has talked to me a few times about Twitter bots and mentioned some useful ones, I’m finally doing some digging into them and putting what I find into this post. 

First of all, if you don’t know what a TwitterBot is I’ll explain:  A TwitterBot is a program that listens to direct messages in Twitter and performs functionality based on what you direct message to it.   Some of them are a query system, you can get information from them.  Some are storage systems, you can store data in them and have other events fire based on the data that you’ve stored.  Some of them are just for fun.  Others aren’t exactly bots, but are information services.

In order to use most TwitterBots, you have to first Follow the bot.  If you don’t understand what that means, you don’t use Twitter.  :)  The reason you have to follow them is that Twitter won’t let you send a direct message to a user that you don’t follow. 

This list won’t follow any particular order and I’m not necessarily endorsing or recommending any of these bots – I haven’t really used them yet and I’m just reporting research.  If I find some I really love I’ll try to write a follow-up post with my top ten list of TwitterBots or something.  Oh – and for those of you that still think Twitter is a waste of time or can’t figure out what it’s good for, here you go!


This one isn’t a true bot, it publishes the daily deals from woot.com as soon as they’re released – if you’re a woot fan this is probably a must follow! 


Forecast will give you a weather forecast for any (I think only U.S.) zip, city or state.  You just send it a direct message such as ‘d forecast 84111′ or ‘d forecast salt lake city, ut’ and it will send you the weather forecast for that area.  (this doesn’t appear to be working tonight, I dont’ know if it’s dead or not)


Stock will give you stock quotes for any stock symbol.  Direct message such as ‘d stock goog’ to get a stock quote for Google.   (this doesn’t appear to be working tonight, I dont’ know if it’s dead or not)


This bot offers a plethora of services including access to maps, directions and local information.  The command structure is syntax heavy, meaning there are a lot of things it can do and a lot of ways to talk to it.  For a full list of instructions, go here.


gCal is a mashup with Google Calendar.  It lets you add events to your google calendar.  A direct message such as ‘d gcal meeting with Allan tomorrow at 1 pm’ will add the meeting to your google calendar.  To use the service, you have to sign up here at twittercal (along with following gcal).


Timer lets you set the clock, for anything.  Direct message something like ‘d timer 30 feed the meter’ and it will send you a message in 30 minutes that says “feed the meter”

Remember The Milk

RTM is a web based task management system.  With Twitter and RTM, you can add tasks to your RTM list by sending a direct message to rtm such as ‘d rtm call Jesse at noon tomorrow’ and it will add the task to your list and email it to you.  you can also set a task as complete such as ‘d rtm !complete call Jesse at noon tomorrow’ and it will be marked as complete.  If that wasn’t cool enough, you can send ‘d rtm !today’ and it will send you your tasks for the day.  Or you could send ‘d rtm !getlist shopping’ and it will send you your shopping list from RTM.  Sign-up information and directions for the bot are available here.


Tipr will calculate a tip for you.  Simply direct message something like ‘d tipr 10.25@20′ and it will tell you how much a 20% tip will be for a $10.25 check. 

Well, I’ve searched Google, Technorati and Delicious and that’s all I can find – do you know of any Twitterbots that I’m missing?  (I’ve deliberately left off several non-bots like CNNBrk that are rss feeds being twittered and a couple bots I saw that are well …  stupid.)


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  1. Thom Allen

    Great list. I’m going to add the gCal bot.

    I use the w00t bot but it’s slow and most of the time it only sends something when an item is sold out. I don’t rely on it much.

  2. Thomas Freudenberg

    Hi Phil, I have another “misuse” of Twitter for you: some time ago I wrote a CruiseControl.NET extension which publishes build results via Twitter: http://thomasfreudenberg.com/blog/archive/2007/06/17/twitter-publisher-for-cruisecontrol-net.aspx

  3. Ash

    Thanks for the list — and the reminder. I’ve been meaning to get into this as well.

    I don’t run a calendar (maybe I should) so gCal may not be for me. However, this is a sweet bot.

    I’ll probably use:

    - Forecast
    - Timer
    - RTM
    - Tipr

    and I’m Following cnnbrk and I enjoy it. They rarely send messages and they’re usually the important stuff like “a president died” or “major hurricane slams into South America.” I was skeptical at first but it’s somewhat interesting to follow.

  4. Scott Kingery

    Remember the Milk is such a huge application. Lots you can do with it and I love the way they’ve implemented twitter to send to it. Simple yet powerful. I need to spend more time getting to know it.

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