Twitter as research tool / digital marginalia

I took a different approach to this exercise, having not really made connections to our readings about text deformance until reading the other blog posts before class. My bots (or hypothetical bots) were conceived as research tools rather than text generators.

First: wanted to set up an account that tweeted a random audio clip from my oral history site ( I would need the bot to pull both the clip title and the clip description from the metadata, ideally. I quickly realized this is very difficult to set up for someone with very little exposure to programming.

Next: I decided to use a ready-made service, RoundTeam, to set up a simple keyword retweet that I could use as a research tool. This is generally how I use Twitter anyway–as a content aggregator in which I follow people who post content or links to content, and I re-tweet things that I’ve read or interacted with. It’s a sort of digital reading journal for me. From an archival perspective, this is what I find most interesting about Twitter: that users are leaving digital marginalia that represent traces of their interactions with the “text” of the internet. The Library of Congress Twitter archive project seems promising, but I wish there was more transparency as to what exactly they are doing.

Anyway, since I research the cultural history of urban port districts (aka “sailortowns”) I created an account “SailortownRTs,” and attempted to configure it so that it would retweet any mention of the keyword “sailortown,” but immediately ran into the problem that applying this function to all of Twitter requires a paid account.

Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time attempting to figure out how to do this from scratch. I plan on seeing what I can do over the weekend drawing on other examples.