This post is part of Hard Refresh, a soothing weekly column where we try to cleanse your brain of whatever terrible thing you just witnessed on Twitter.
While “bot” may be a dirty word on Twitter in the year 2018, there’s a subset of bot accounts that have nothing to do with subverting democracy and everything to do with bringing a tiny slice of surreal joy to your life.
It’s a strange corner of the internet to be obsessed with given how much bots are derided for everything from simply clogging your feed with spam to promoting propaganda for the Russians in a bid to undermine our electoral process.
But they’re out there: automated Twitter accounts that regularly tweet strange and wonderful content. I’ve even started collecting a few of these into a Twitter list so I can see them all in one place, a one-stop Twitter oasis of weirdness. Here are a few of my favorites.
The one is super simple: a screencap from a random episode of The Simpsons from the show’s early era. Whether it’s a one-liner or just a visual gag from the show’s Golden Era, it’s hard not to smile when they pop up on my feed.
If you’re into this sort of thing, check out a very similar account for another classic animated show, King of the Hill.
President Donald Trump has had some awkward interactions with children during his time in the White House, but both President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama were known for their ease and comfort with kids. This account tweets out a memorable Obama-kid interaction every two hours and is an instant soul-soother.
Fans of magical realism writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez will revel in this bot which turns 280 characters or less into the surreal and fantastical, little bites of prose that are sometimes magical, sometimes nonsensical, but always entertaining.
A beautiful woman with yellow eyes knocks at your door. You answer it, and she hands you a moon.
— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) November 6, 2018
A chameleon says to Lord Byron: “You need to swallow windows.”
— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) November 10, 2018
As a big Dylan fan, I thoroughly enjoy the account that tweets his lyrics every day. If you’re one of those folks who could never get into Dylan because of his voice, this is a good way to at least enjoy his words.
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm. “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”
— Ro Bot Dylan (@ro_bot_dylan) November 12, 2018
These are just a few examples of the genre and there are plenty more out there. But it’s worth stashing these accounts away for when Twitter gets to be a bit too much.
They’re a nice, consistent break from reality with a twist of weird that’s somehow appropriate for life in 2018.
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