Sebastian Q. Canard: How to make friends and influence people

In my previous post I described how I created a cigar-loving twitter bot called Sebastian using some Python code and a Raspberry Pi. Now that Sebastian has started tweeting, it’s was time for him to start making some friends.

The fastest way to make friends is to buy them

Friends on Twitter (as in life) can be bought for the right price. In Sebastian’s case, I used the online marketplace fiverr (where people offer all kinds of questionable services for $5) to purchase 13,000 followers (these are bots like Sebastian, though with less panache). This gave Sebastian the kind of cache normally reserved for D-list celebrities, branded bathroom products and regional radio stations and (I hoped) would make new additions more likely to follow him back.

Follow users who like to follow back

Having bought the first 13,000 friends, I wanted Sebastian to make some real ones. There are various projects online with sophisticated network-orientated, pattern-searching algorithms for following users. Sebastian’s taste’s aren’t that complex however - all he wants to do is meet interesting people as efficiently as possible and build his list of followers by choosing people who are likely to follow back:

  • They have followers, but not too many: Real people don’t tend to have 50,000 friends and I wanted Sebastian to make friends with real people.
  • They have similar interests to Sebastian: The previous post in this series describes how Sebastian ‘creates’ his tweets by copying them from other people. The list of people he copies from forms the pool of potential users to befriend.
  • They like to follow other users: The objective is to build Sebastian’s social network, so a good potential friend is one who likes to follow others. Analysing the friends and followers list of every candidate would quickly exhaust my rate limit so instead the script looks for users with a roughly 1:1 ratio of friends vs. followers.

Add twitter followers, one at a time

The python script uses a random number generator to decide when a friend request is made. As with the tweeting, a daily profile is used so that Sebastian is more active at some times than others. A daily limit is in place to stop Sebastian making too many friends at once.

How many twitter followers is ‘too many’?

Time will tell, but for now Sebastian is busy tweeting away and should be for some time. I’ll revisit the project in a couple of months and see how successful the projects has been. In the meantime, the code is available on GitHub. If you have any questions feel free to say hello.

Adam Dynamic
Gentleman Amateur.