How to Create a Twitter Bot with Node.js

By  on  

Twitter bots have been in the news over the past few years due to election meddling, not only in the United States but stretching across the globe.  There are, however, good and logical reasons for creating Twitter bots.  In order to see how easy it was to create a Twitter bot, for good or evil, I decided to create my own Twitter bot.  Five minutes of work and I had a working bot -- let's see how it's done!

The first step in creating a Node.js Twitter bot is creating an app on the Twitter website:

Provide the required information and you'll have the ability to create access token and consumer information.

The next step is downloading the twit Node.js resource:

yarn install twit

With twit available, create an instance of Twit with the access token consumer information you were given by the Twitter app website:

const Twit = require('twit')

const T = new Twit({
  consumer_key:         'YOUR_INFO_HERE',
  consumer_secret:      'YOUR_INFO_HERE',
  access_token:         'YOUR_INFO_HERE',
  access_token_secret:  'YOUR_INFO_HERE',
  timeout_ms:           60 * 1000,
});

Now the action can happen.  Here are a few examples of basic Twitter bot functionality:

// Post a tweet
T.post(
  'statuses/update',
  { status: 'This is an automated test!' },
  (err, data, response) => {
    console.log(err, data, response);
  }
)

// Retweet a given tweet
T.post('statuses/retweet/:id', { id: '697162548957700096' })

Let's think of a more practical example:  using the Stream API to "like" any tweet you are mentioned in:

const stream = T.stream('statuses/filter', { track: ['@davidwalshblog'] });

stream.on('tweet',
  tweet => {
    console.log('tweet received! ', tweet)
    T.post(
      'statuses/retweet/:id',
      { id: tweet.id },
      (err, data, response) => {
        console.log(err, data, response);
      }
    )
  }
);

Getting a Twitter bot up and running takes minimal effort, which is why it's important that services like Twitter protect its users from evil-doers.  Bad guys aside, there are plenty of good reasons to create a Twitter bot, whether it be for internal analytics, promotion, or even creating your own Twitter app.  Thank you to Tolga Tezel for creating an amazing JavaScript resources for interacting with Twitter!

Recent Features

  • By
    Regular Expressions for the Rest of Us

    Sooner or later you'll run across a regular expression. With their cryptic syntax, confusing documentation and massive learning curve, most developers settle for copying and pasting them from StackOverflow and hoping they work. But what if you could decode regular expressions and harness their power? In...

  • By
    9 Mind-Blowing Canvas Demos

    The <canvas> element has been a revelation for the visual experts among our ranks.  Canvas provides the means for incredible and efficient animations with the added bonus of no Flash; these developers can flash their awesome JavaScript skills instead.  Here are nine unbelievable canvas demos that...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Redacted Font

    Back when I created client websites, one of the many things that frustrated me was the initial design handoff.  It would always go like this: Work hard to incorporate client's ideas, dream up awesome design. Create said design, using Lorem Ipsum text Send initial design concept to the client...

  • By
    Create Spinning, Fading Icons with CSS3 and MooTools

    A goal of my latest blog redesign was to practice what I preached a bit more;  add a bit more subtle flair.  One of the ways I accomplished that was by using CSS3 animations to change the display of my profile icons (RSS, GitHub, etc.)  I...

Discussion

  1. Hi David,

    This is a great introduction, however I must say that coming up with useful ways to utilize the Twitter API with these bots is the harder part. I suppose if one truly has a use for making a bot like this then that part will be self-evident.

    Thanks again for the write up.

  2. Doug

    damn if you’re a beginner. NONE of this will just WORKS like that.

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!