So, I met my first bot the other day.
Twitter bot, that is. I suppose it’s safe to say I’ve seen their work (if that’s what it’s called) before, but never directed at me. It wasn’t a bad experience as that sort of thing goes, and I’m happy to say it actually gave me food for thought.
This is not in any way, shape, or form a political post, but a bit of background is necessary for the bot to make sense. I almost always shun away from using social media to air my feelings about politics or other topics of the day. It’s not productive and the replies cause my blood pressure to go up–not a win for me in any fashion. That said, I said “almost always” which implies there are rare exceptions.
I’m not particularly thrilled about some current national events, so I tweeted a thought that started with, “I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that …” (if you need to see it, I’m @timgels; again, this isn’t a political post).
Within just a few minutes, I had a reply that read, “I fixed your tweet for you: I’m not a lawyer.”
Okay, that’s cute.
Believe it or not, though, I get it. Mind you, I still blocked the bot, but I get it. I’m not a lawyer, but I know they regularly have to put up with people who fly off the cuff and pontificate as if they, too, had passed the Bar exam. That’s got to be frustrating, so I get it.
However, while I’m not a lawyer, I’m a fairly well read individual who does his best to practice critical thinking, and I don’t think my tweet was too far off the mark. For what it’s worth, an actual lawyer replied to my tweet, saying, “I think you just passed the Bar.”
Take that, you bot.
The food for thought I mentioned earlier? If that bot was a person, I’d reply along the lines of, “Look, I’m a teacher. Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you they know how to do my job!” And, as with the lawyer who has the technical chops to put together that bot, I sometimes get tired of hearing about it. When I think about it, though, sometimes critics from outside the field have valid points. I believe I did, and perhaps they do too.
I can respect the views of others, but now I’ve got a new interest I’m pursuing: I’ve gotta figure out how to make my own bot.
4 thoughts on “Bot”
I guess I wouldn’t know a bot if one commented on one of my tweets. Maybe that’s a good thing? Interesting perspective.
Absolutely! The way I see it, we DO get a lot of folks who engage in – I don’t know what they call it. Back seat teaching? Saturday-morning instructoring? Whatever we call it, I’m guessing it’s because so many folks have their own kiddos, and virtually EVERYONE has gone through school themselves.
I do think you have a point about people from outside a field offering perspective in, though. The trick is to separate the creative, the constructive, from the just plain ol’ misinformed…
I feel like the rise of bots and misinformation makes the moment critical to educate students in media literacy. And it should start at an early age. I feel like this is something I need to learn more about as I try to teach students to become critical thinkers and readers. I forgot where I read or heard, but someone called social media almost as theatrical constructs, and you can insulate yourself in echo chambers where it becomes easy to deny reality or claim new realities. As always, a lot to think about, Tim. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, those bots! Actually to make your own bot sounds fun!