Twitterbot

Once upon a time, years ago, I actually had one of the original twitter accounts.  I had  (I guess I still have it) a really short name, sort of the equivalent of having a 2-letter URL.  I quickly gave it up for a variety of reasons, the most compelling of which is I find it impossible to say anything I want to say in 140 characters.  I am just not a master of the glib and witty little phrase.  Even one of my shortest blog posts ever, which read

My summary on the immigration debate:  Republicans want immigrants who work but don't vote.  Democrats want immigrants who vote but don't work.

does not make the cut.   These thoughts return to me when I see this:

Nigel Leck, an Australian software developer, grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created a spambot to "wear down" his opponents. The bot, @AI_AGW, scans Twitter every five minutes looking for key phrases commonly used by those who challenge the global warming orthodoxy.  It then posts one of hundreds of canned responses hoping to frustrate skeptics. CFACT's Twitter account @CFACT (follow us!) often receives many of these unsolicited messages each day. Since the bot became active on May 26, 2010, it has sent out over 40,000 tweets, or an average of more than 240 updates per day!

Technology Review gushed that Leck's bot "answers Twitter users who aren't even aware of their own ignorance." Leck claims that his little bit of trollware is commonly mistaken as a genuine Twitter user leading the unsuspecting to sometimes debate it for days. Eventually it wears people down.

Here is a good rule of thumb:  Anyone on either side who thinks anything substantive can be argued for or against the science behind the hypothesis of catastrophic man-made global warming in 140 characters can be safely ignored.

  • Twitter isn't a place to have long substantive debates -- blogs work much more effectively for that. Twitter is about the flow and dissemination of information.

    Virtually every major news story I come across hits my twitter feed before I hear about it anywhere else.

    I'll give you a non-news example. I'm a Purdue alum, and one of our star basketball players was recovering from an ACL tear. The morning of the 2nd day of practice this year, he retore that ACL. This happened to be the day of a Purdue home football game. The news wasn't reported anywhere before game time, but by the second quarter, virtually everyone in the stadium already knew what happened -- because of twitter.

    Twitter gets news from the people who create it to the people who care about it faster than anything I've ever seen.

    You might want to give it another shot.

  • me

    Note that there's idiots on both sides of this debate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5yNZ1U37sE&feature=player_embedded#!

  • what is a climate realist?

    My classification is "warmist" and "skeptic".

  • Val

    "Here is a good rule of thumb: Anyone on either side who thinks anything substantive can be argued for or against the science behind the hypothesis of catastrophic man-made global warming in 140 characters can be safely ignored."

    Not a good rule of thumb anymore... They are bussed to the polls by the droves.

  • DensityDuck

    A: haha, so it's ELIZA only for Global Waming?

    B: condsidering that AGW advocates often accuse their opponents of "just spouting talking points", I wonder what they'd have to say about this?