Beep... boop... boot, booting the narrowbotr off Twitter

Towpath closed by Elliot Brown (ell-r-brown) on Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0)

Back in November after the various developments with Twitter, I worked out how to get my Twitter bot to run on Mastodon. Since the Twitter takeover there have been various announcements from the new owner and official Twitter accounts about free access to the Twitter API being suspended, although these have usually come and gone without said suspension happening.

Yesterday, however, I received an email from Twitter informing me the narrowbotr’s API access had now been suspended – surprise, it hadn’t, the bot was still posting away. Twitter has also released details of its new API access. This includes a free tier, that provides write-only (i.e. posting) of up to 1,500 tweets per month.

While the narrowbotr would be fine with this as it tweets about 4 times a day, I’ve decided instead to stop the bot posting to Twitter, and it now only posts to its Mastodon account. It’s got nearly as many followers on Mastodon as it has on Twitter, and its not like either of those counts is at all influential1. The Twitter debacle has seen my personal engagement with Twitter wane, though I’ve gone in fits and starts with using Mastodon2. I suspect mainly influenced by personal goings on than wider machinations in social media3. However, I can’t really be bothered tailoring the bot to the latest whims of an egotistical billionaire, so I’m proactively stopping it posting to Twitter.


I need to write a proper post about refactoring of the bot as some general refactoring happened around the same time as the migration to Mastodon. But in moving solely to Mastodon I’ve implemented a further couple of changes to add hashtags to the post.

There are some standard hashtags for all posts, such as #canal, but I’ve also added a flag to the dataset for whether the location is in Wales or not to add either a #wales or #england hashtag. When pulling a photo from Flickr the API also provides information on the tags that users have given to the photo (if any), these are now recycled and added to the message posted to Mastodon.

  1. 18 Mastodon followers, compared to 28 Twitter followers for those interested. ↩︎

  2. I’ve an account on (Fosstodon)[] if you want to follow me. ↩︎

  3. Though the fact that I follow a weird mix of folk making for a stream that is at sometimes genuinely interesting, occasionally uplifting, but largely (and increasingly) depressing (especially in regards LGBT matters) isn’t helping. ↩︎