Preston Richey

@bronnerbot

@bronnerbot was my first ebooks-style Markov Twitterbot. I had the idea after absentmindedly reading a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle, which is a treat I recommend to anyone who hasn’t already had the pleasure. The label, rambling, whimsical, and circuitous, almost seems as if it were generated from a Markov chain rather than written by Dr. Bronner himself. So, I figured, why not train a model on copy transcribed from each individual label?

I found several labels ready-transcribed online, but for the remaining few I found an image and typed by hand. (This explains bot typos, which happen every so often). Each variety of soap has a slightly different label, which made for an 8,000+ word text file to train the model. After generating the model, I scheduled the bot to tweet every 6 hours and @bronnerbot was live. It has been tweeting regularly since 2015, and has tweeted over 5,000 times. The bot gained only a handful of followers (39, at time of this writing), but ultimately I made the bot for myself. Most of its tweets are nonsensical riffs on ‘ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE!’ (which is a crutch Dr. Bronner leaned on more often than any other), but occasionally the bot tweets something serendipitously poetic. I’m convinced all that transcription was worth it.