Twitter in 2017 [or the era of Donald Trump] can be a noisy and anxiety-inducing place. If our feeds aren’t bursting with shouty all-caps Twitter rants about politics, they’re brimming with news updates that set you on edge.
But, one Twitter bot is sending out positive vibes into the ether in the form of “emoji meadows” randomised assortments of nature emoji with the odd animal thrown in every now and then.
A string of flower emoji might not sound like much, but this Twitter bot is having a soothing effect on Twitter, bringing much-needed calm to many people’s feeds. And, let’s face it, when the dominant emoji in your feed are , and , these digital meadows are a welcome injection of positivity.
Emoji Meadow (@EmojiMeadow) May 3, 2017
Joe Sondow is the man behind the Emoji Meadow bot. He comes from a software engineering background and has been running Twitter parody accounts mostly about Star Trek since 2013, “before the bulk of the internet’s harassment armies and Nazis came to try to spoil the party”. Sondow says that back then “Twitter was a place to have fun”.
Sondow was inspired by Twitter art bots like @tiny_star_field. He looked through the latest emoji set and decided to experiment with Twitter API calls and bot infrastructure. His first experiment came in the form of Emoji Aquarium, a bot which tweets a “tiny aquarium full of interesting fishies” every couple of hours.
Emoji Aquarium (@EmojiAquarium) May 2, 2017
Sondow wanted to branch out in emoji grasses, flowers and occasional small animals and, so, Emoji Meadow was born. Every few hours the bot sends out “a tiny meadow full of grass and flowers”.
“To some degree it all felt a bit silly in the midst of our country’s second civil rights movement, but it was something I was itching to do as an artist, and it’s been helping to hone my Twitter automation skills for other uses,” says Sondow.
Emoji Meadow (@EmojiMeadow) April 5, 2017
“The response from followers has mostly been gratitude for a moment of calm and quiet on people’s otherwise angst-inducing Twitter timelines, so I think of @EmojiMeadow as a contribution to help people keep themselves sane in crazy times,” Sondow continues.
Sondow decided to get a little creative with his bot by adding an algorithm to some of the meadows.
“Looking at some of the meadows, I realised it would be cute if an animal had to follow a maze to get to a treat, so I added a path-building algorithm for some of the meadows, for the sake of variety,” says Sondow.
Emoji Meadow (@EmojiMeadow) April 22, 2017
Emoji Meadow (@EmojiMeadow) April 21, 2017
Sondow says he’d like to set up some “‘deplorable’-blocking algorithms” in an effort to “make Twitter easier and more fun to use”.
“I use a variety of blocking systems so I can choose whom I want to hear from, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement in that area,” he continues.
Long may the emoji meadows continue!