Twitfortune

In this post I would like to introduce you to both my new Projects page, and my first project, Twitfortune.

Twitfortune is a website that gives out twitter generated advice, like a fortune cookie. The adive can range from the utterly non-understandable, to amusing, to genuinely useful.

The idea came from seeing many friends posting “note to self” style tweets. I thought it was strange that people use the very public platform of twitter to write seemingly personal things. With this in mind, I decided to call out these ordinarily private tweets and create a website based around them. Seeing as the tweets often contained advice to the author, they suggested a fortune cookie style. The fact that these pieces of advice were not written specifically for others to read gives each fortune a slightly cryptic air.

The process of creating these fortunes is fairly straight forward. I search twitter for the latest instances of the words “note to self”. The tweet is then stripped of these words to leave only the message. Further work is done to remove any puncutation symbols that might follow, to make it look a bit nicer.

The final bit of processing done on the tweets is to make them a little less introspective. All instances of the first person (I, me, my etc) are  replaced with their equivalent second person words (You, your etc). This means they are now peices of advice for the reader. Strangely specific, peculiar, obscure pieces of advice mind you.

After testing it out, I realised that there were two common actions I wanted to do. Firstly, the most amusing ones I wanted to share with people. I found myself taking lots of screen shots and messaging them to my sister. I realised I could make that process easier by providing people with a method of sharing the fortunes: sending them back to twitter! So I added the “Tweet it” option to each fortune. The second action I found myself often doing was translating the tweets. Many people were beginning tweets with the english words “note to self” and continuing on in another language. I wanted to know what they were saying! So I added the “Translate it” option. This takes you straight to the google translation of the fortune, from whatever language it was written in to English.

So there you have it. Twitfortune, check it out!

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