Prep for an interview: write a blogpost The Gentle Art of Trolling

Making social media bots, the what's been done and the why you might want to

Trolling can be a thing of beauty*. It can help you to speak truth to power, to engage an audience, to learn about the edges of ethics, and it can be a currency of belonging. It can be a route to commenting, generating and a playful engagement with social media.

In this post, I’m going to introduce some classic bots, point you towards some tools for making them, and introduce you to some key theories.

I’ve chosen the bots we are going to look at as they demonstrate different approaches to bot-making, from the Artificial Intelligence perspective (Deep Drumf) to the gaming/illustration crossover of The Moth Generator, to the textual games of  the Art Assignment Bot (my personal favourite in this field is the Magic Realism bot) and the speculative potential of the Novice Art Blogger.

There’s a lot of argument that suggests the trend for trolling comes directly from DaDa and Surrealism, and Marcel Duchamp has even be called Troll Zero. It certainly comes from the ability of digital media to provide an arena for a comments section, but more importantly, the ability to collapse the distinction between consumer and producer, and filter culture in such a way that it becomes a repository for all culture and cultural forms.

Making social media bots means getting to grips with some key fundamental concepts of  ‘new media’ and putting them to work. In making a bot, you’ll deal with automation, the network, and the database all in one deceptively powerful little package.

Have a look at the four sample bots, and then take a look at Zach Whalen’s how-to guide below which uses google spreadsheets and is completely free to use.


How to make a twitterbot with Google Spreadsheets




Katie Rose Pipkin & Loren Schmidt's Moth Generator
microsoft bot jpg
Jeremy Bailey trolling the Microsoft bot
art assignment bot pic
Art Assignment Bot
novice art bot
Novice Art Blogger

Reading List

Trolling Is A Art by Lochlan Morrissey

‘Examining The Concepts, Issues and Implications of Internet Trolling’ by Jonathan Bishop

bot summit 2016 at the V&A (and past bot summits)

Electronic Superhighway at The Whitechapel until 15 May

Surrealist-Games, systems for play

Insect Media by Jussi Parikka

Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art: The Artist’s Joke and Systems