Bingo the Friend Bot

For the first project, I created a Twitter bot that facilitates communication between strangers on the Internet by asking them to either send or request an "icebreaker" question from a random person. I'm really interested in installing empathy in my viewers with my art, so this project was supposed to help others understand some of the minds and lives of people they most likely would never meet in real life.

At first, I designed a Truth or Dare bot, which worked by asking users to send or request a truth or dare. After I released this version to the public, I got minimal interaction, and if there was any interaction, it had to do with asking/answering truths. This made me realize that not many people would be brave/committed enough to perform a dare for the bot. As a result I turned the account into Bingo the Friend Bot, which simply sent "get to know you" questions. If nobody interacted with the bot within a period of ten minutes, it would find a random user and ask them a random question from a database of icebreakers that I wrote.

This is a contrast to what the Internet is typically known for doing, anonymizing people and their differences and limiting emotional connection, so my intervention here is asking for emotion where it is not necessarily wanted or needed. Although I didn't get many responses, two of these screenshots capture the types of responses I hoped to get: one shows a user asking a random question, which was sent to another user who requested one, and they were able to make a deeper connection in the process; and the other is an instance where someone got offended by the bot, thinking it was creepy by asking them something really personal, exposing the true nature of the Internet's aversion to empathy.

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