Goodbye, @ItMeIRL.

All the way back in October 2015 (that seems like ages ago!), I made a Twitter bot called @ItMeIRL. As the name implies, it posts content from the /r/me_irl subreddit. Over time, it grew a pretty sizable audience—the account now sits at nearly 400k followers.

For some of that time, I made it as something mostly for myself and friends to enjoy. But as time went on, it actually became a fun programming side-project. I wrote my own automated bot (Tootbot) mostly from scratch, and I became more experienced with the Python programming language in the process. There are now over a dozen Twitter and Mastodon accounts using Tootbot, and I've loved seeing what others create with it.

But over the past eight months or so, my desire to keep running the account has essentially vanished. Back in January, someone with thousands of followers (who shall remain nameless) became upset that my bot posted screenshots of his tweets. When I didn't delete them in a timely fashion, he told his followers to attack me. It was pretty strange waking up to someone comparing me to Hitler!

After I blocked him, he messaged me on Instagram and threatened to tell his Instragram followers to also attack me, unless I publicly apologized. It's hard to believe an adult would behave this way, but that's the internet for you.

In addition, users on the /r/me_irl subreddit have repeatedly tried to get the account banned, which would put my personal Twitter account at stake (because they share the same phone number, due to API limitations). More recently, I received more hate messages because I neglected to delete posts about XXXTentacion's death, on account of them being "disrespectful." Not only were the posts in question not offensive whatsoever, but I don't feel particularly motivated to respect someone who beat up their pregnant girlfriend.

I could list other examples, but you get the idea. It's not worth it at all to keep the account running—the posts on /r/me_irl aren't even funny anymore. As such, the @ItMeIRL account will be deleted soon.

My other bot accounts, like Prequel Memes and Meow IRL, will not be deleted at this time. Tootbot will continue to be developed; right now I'm working on Heroku support so bot accounts can easily be set up in the cloud. I might make new bot accounts in the future, but I don't have any plans to at this time.

If you're interested in my other projects, you can check them out on my personal site. I'm also on Twitter (@corbindavenport) and Mastodon ([email protected]).

Update: I tried to transfer the @ItMeIRL Twitter username (but not the account) to a replacement bot someone set up, but someone else stole it during the process. So if you see an @ItMeIRL account on Twitter, it's not mine.