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Mockingjay

A Twitter API 1.1 script to make a Twitter bot that retweets tweets that contain words in a RegEx. First iteration: RegEx Tweet.

It currently powers @YourRepsOnGuns, retweeting members of congress when they tweet about firearms and related words. Check out that implementation for a more advanced example.

We originally made this project when we were working at The Daily Beast and compiling every member of congress's stance on gun control for This Is Your Rep On Guns. Read more about that project and the origins of this bot here.

Installation

If you already have NodeJS installed run the following in a new project folder:

npm install mockingjay

You can install Node with Homebrew if you're on a mac or their website has double-click installers.

Usage

This example includes the optional inclusion of a bot_name see below for when you want to include that. Otherwise, you can leave it blank or omit it entirely.

Make a file like the one below called index.js and place it in the new project folder where you ran npm intall mockingjay. To run this file once, do node index.js from within that project folder. This is good for testing to make sure it's working.

var mockingjay = require('mockingjay');

var opts = {
  list_owner: "cspan",
  list_name: "members-of-congress",
  count: 200,
  regex: "(Obamacare|Obama)",
  credentials: {
    consumer_key:         ...,
    consumer_secret:      ...,
    access_token:         ...,
    access_token_secret:  ...
  },
  bot_name: "obamacare-bot"
};

mockingjay.retweet(opts, function(err, result){
  if (!err){
    console.log(result)
    /*{
      "retweeted_matches": true,
      "since_last": 20,
      "matching": 5
    }*/
  }else{
    console.log(err)
  }
});

Options

If you have multiple instances of Mockingjay running on the same machine, you'll want to include a bot_name in the config file. Mockingjay only checks new tweets since the last time it ran. It does this by saving the id of the most latest tweet in a file at src/last-ids/<bot-name>-last-id.json. Specifying a name will make sure that your script will only check for the last time it ran as opposed to the last time some other script ran.

Crontab

This package is meant to be run on a cron. Here's an example setup that runs every ten minutes on the 1s. To add this to your contrab, run crontab -e. It will most likely default to a vim editor so hit i to turn on insert mode and start typing. When done, press esc then type :x and hit return. It should say that your new crontab has been saved.

1,11,21,31,41,51 * * * * /usr/bin/node /home/ubuntu/tasks/botname/index.js

This command is the same as what we ran above as node index.js except we're giving full paths to our node executable and to our file. To find out where your node is installed, type which node. To get the full path to your index.js file, in your project folder type pwd to get teh full path to the working directory.

Tweets that are retweets

If someone in your list retweeted a tweet that matches your criteria, e.g. you're following senators using the word "gun" and a senator retweets an NRA tweet about "guns", then Mockingjay will send out a tweet that looks like this:

.@<person-on-your-tracking-list> retweeted @<person-they-retweeted>: <url-of-original-tweet>

If a Mockingjay bot were retweeting @csvsoundsystem whenever they mentioned "big data", which someone should make by the way, it would look like this:

@csvsoundsystem retweeted @lifewinning: https://twitter.com/lifewinning/status/445688842721705985 

Callback

result returns an object. If retweeted_matches is true, it found new matching tweets and retweeted them without error. If everything went well but it didn't find any matches, status is false. since_last are the number of new tweets in that list since last it checked. matching is the number of new and matching tweets since last it checked.

About

Create a twitter bot that follows a list and retweets tweets that match a regex pattern.

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