Last week, we mentioned a new Twitter “bot” — @earthquakesLA — which reports on the latest earthquakes in Los Angeles on the popular Twitter micro-messaging service. I contacted Bill Snitzer, the programmer behind the Twitter robot, just to get an idea of how easy it was for him to create the Twitter robot:
Why’d you create the bot?
I had a few hours to spare and wanted to put them toward making
something that would be useful to a lot of people. I had also felt a
couple small earthquakes in the few days before that. There was
already a few automated earthquake twitter accounts, but none specific
to just LA, and none that posted in plain english with hyperlinks. I
wanted to improve on that.
How long did it take you to create?
The bot took about 6 hours to create, plus some more time waiting for
an earthquake to happen to test the whole system out. All together no
more than a day. I’ve made a few improvements on it since then, most
notably I worked with the USGS to get the data delivered to the bot
faster than it was when i first brought it online.
This isn’t your day job: what do you do for a living?
I am a Production Engineer for Seamless Interactive in downtown LA.
We are a technology company that is focusing on the convergence of
internet and television.