Ed Justen By Ed Justen • November 17, 2016

About the Ed Bot

Wondering about this bot? Read on.

The Twitter bot

I recently ran across this tutorial by Zach Wahlen about how to put together a simple bot using Twitter and Google spreadsheets. Being interested in programming, it looked like something I could easily handle, and spent an evening looking into it.

As it turns out, creating and activating this bot is pretty simple. It is mostly programmed through the Google spreadsheet, and Zach provides a copy of the sheet in his tutorial. Follow the simple instructions, fill in a couple of form fields, and you’re ready to activate your bot. It only took me about 20 minutes.

Of course, if I’m going to build a bot that tweets out content, I need some content to tweet out. The sample content provided with the spreadsheet was great, and provided some opportunities for silliness (who really could use more silliness these days?), but instead I wanted to tweet something of worth to the legions of followers. So . . . . . . .

About Brene Brown

If you know me, you’ve most likely heard me express my aversion to TED Talks. I’ve avoided them for years. But working in the business development industry, I’ve viewed more than my share of TED Talks as part of my professional development, and run into several that have helped me sort out my thoughts and personal issues.

Brene Brown is a researcher of social issues, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. On top of that, she’s a mom, devoted wife, and the author of four best selling books about vulnerability, shame and empathy. With more than 30 million views, her TED Talk on vulnerability is one of the top five most viewed TED Talks in the world.

When Ed met Brene

My employer, HubSpot puts on a yearly industry conference called INBOUND. Each year the company brings in business and cultural thought leaders to speak at INBOUND, and Brene Brown is a natural fit (This year’s speaker roster also included Billie Jean King, Michelle Obama, and John Cena, among others). This is the second time she has spoken at INBOUND.

As an employee of HubSpot, I was involved in the planning of the event, so I was entered in a lottery to attend a meet-and-greet photo-op with one of the keynote speakers.

Lucky me, I was selected to meet with Brene Brown (I was really hoping to meet Billie Jean King). In all honesty, the meet-and-greet was not much more than a quick-hug-and-take-a-picture photo-op, but the few moments I spent in her orbit was one of the highlights of my year.

While there are lots of speakers that can command a stage, Brene Brown exudes a very approachable persona. You may be sharing her with 3,000 other people in the room, but you could almost imagine kicking back with her in your (or maybe even her) living room. Face-to-face, she shows the same empathy, and easily connects. During her talk, she worked the humanity displayed at the very recent Houston flooding event into her discussion of the current state of affairs, while seamlessly pointing out that vitriol directed at the side you hate should be as disturbing as the vitriol hurled at the side you are aligned with. During the photo-op she took care to ask my name and found something to connect with (for me it was my blue-framed eyewear).

The Brene Bot

When I was ready to activate the bot, I needed some good content. Today’s polarized Twitter-sphere has enough negativity, so it wasn’t a stretch to want to contribute something positive that anyone could benefit from. I thought about quotes for environmental causes, or maybe even quotes supporting the immigrant cause, both issues I’m passionate about. Instead, I decided to publish quotes from Brene Brown; inspirational, thought provoking, always good for a pick-me-up. I don’t know if she is aware, but if she ever runs across it, I hope she approves.

In conclusion, I wanted to build a bot that tweets out something every few hours; I needed content to tweet out. Enter Brene Brown. Problem solved.