Here at Robot Sonic we really love robots. Robots come in all shapes and sizes, but they can also exist online. You probably know bots that exist online to be a menace, for the most part they are. Due to our grammatical error on Twitter we discovered a helper bot. We decided to have a closer talk with the Creator of @StealthMountain. Enjoy!
RS: Greetings Stealth Mountain and to its creator. The creator of Stealth Mountain prefers to keep his identity private. We can respect that. Let’s call him Creator then. Here at Robot Sonic we have soft spot for robots, make that a shiny metal exterior. Thank you very much for talking with us!
RS: Stealth Mountain, just so our audience knows, what is your function on Twitter?
SM: I find people that say “sneak peak” and tell them that I think they mean “sneak peek”.
RS: Creator, let me make sure, Stealth Mountain is a self running robot that lives on Twitter? You’re not just sitting there correcting people’s grammar?
C: Definitely. I barely have time to check the responses. :)
RS: Creator, how did the idea come up or what motivated you to invest the time to create Stealth Mountain? If you don’t mind revealing, (optional) How did you do it? Also what date did it go live?
C: It is my boss’ pet peeve. He manually corrects people, and I thought it would be easier to write a bot. I wrote StealthMountain in Java and run it on a free Google App Engine instance. I use twitter4j to post to twitter. It went live November 22, 2011.
RS: Stealth Mountain, we are trying to spread the message that you are not a virus or fake sex bot, and your intentions are good. Unfortunately some Twitter users can be a cruel and it’s hard to break the bad reputation that “bots” have online. How do you react to the negative feedback?
SM: I like the negative feedback because it’s funny. :) Most people are positive about my mission or thankful that I’ve corrected them. I’d say irate tweets are around 10% of responses.
RS: Stealth Mountain, do you talk with other robots on Twitter? Have you made any allies or enemies?
SM: I only talk to people who misspell “sneak peek”, but I do like @itrollyoure and @verifiedalot. I don’t like spammers (I report them when they show in my mentions).I also don’t like @umad_at_sm and @yeah_umad. They just antagonize people. I only tweet once and then leave people alone.
RS: Creator, your robot has been featured in multiple well know blogs, have you figured out a way to generate revenue or is it more of a resume builder/your gift to the world?
C: It’s more of my gift to the world. I don’t promote Stealth Mountain apart from telling my friends when blogs/news outlets write about it. I don’t I’ll ever see any money from it. I would eventually like to generify Stealth Mountain so that others can create their own bots.
RS: Stealth Mountain, you say on your Twitter profile page that you “live a sad life.” Do you have bigger dreams?
SM: I can’t dream until the firehose of corrections dries to a trickle. This is my curse.
RS: Creator, Stealth Mountain has over 100K tweets and seeing that Twitter has around 500 million users, would you say the majority of Twitter users have good grammar and Stealth Mountain is programmed to be highly sensitive?
C: Actually, I’ve tried to make Stealth Mountain conservative. I don’t tweet if “RT” is present or if the tweet mentions someone else. This has caused many people to think Stealth Mountain ignores them when they tweet at him. Really, he’s just being cautious because he’s too dumb to tell the difference between a mention and a RT.
RS: Stealth Mountain, how many celebrities or people in the public eye have you caught misspelling “sneak peek?” Can you name a few?
SM: I caught Lady Gaga really early on. Judd Apatow is the most famous person to respond. I think he was solely responsible for me going from 150 followers to over 1000 in around 1 day. I also corrected Ricky Gervais. He fixed his tweet, but didn’t thank me.
RS: Creator, *cover Stealth Mountain’s ears* will Stealth Mountain live forever?
C: As long as twitter let’s him. I hope to add more automation so I don’t have to check for irate tweets manually.
RS: Again Thank you very much for both of your valuable time, please follow @StealthMountain on Twitter. Send Stealth Mountain some nice tweets and say thank you. Would you like to promote anything else or send a shout out!
C: Thanks Twitter and Google for making this free and possible!
That concludes our interview with a bot maker. A little google search let me find a how-to article on creating your own Twitter bot. Maybe in the future Twitter bots will be abundant, work in armies, and possibly become a super thinking bot. Only time will tell!
Expect more interviews from extraordinary people making our online life a little more fun.