You’re here because of a robot

sune lehmann

Note: This post is co-written with Piotr Sapieżyński

Is it possible for a small computer science course to exert measurable influence (trending topics) on Twitter, a massive social network with hundreds of millions of users? The surprising answer to that question is “yes”. That’s exactly what we did this year, using simple Python scripts and the Twitter API. Below we explain why & how + some of our findings along the way.

Why Twitter bots?

The standard (spam)bot on Twitter has almost no followers, almost zero activity, and exist for a single simple purpose, for example to increase follower counts for certain individuals.

For this year’s Social Graphs and Interactions course, we wanted to do something different – we wanted to see how “intelligent” we could make our bots, using simple machine learning and network analysis methods (the topics covered in the class).

The class

A large part of…

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