The Gentle Oraclebird – the twitterbot version

I’m opening an art installation called the Gentle Oraclebird in Columbus, Ohio in a few weeks. It is a new divination system, that operates as a divination pit that you toss a ball into. The ball falls into a particular bowl, and then you pick our a corresponding fortune on the wall. Like many of my installations, it won’t be visited by most of my friends due to distance, so I thought I’d build a version that was accessible!


The Gentle Oraclebird twitterbot is built with Cheap Bots Done Quick, a free and delightfully simple tool that uses Tracery to generate grammar. I have a very rudimentary understanding of JSON, but it doesn’t even require much knowledge of it.

She’s having a pretty good run over at and she responds to the keywords “fortune” (gives you a fortune) and “compliment” or “nice” (gives you a compliment). She also will respond to “more” by telling you about my show.

Here’s a couple of the fortunes that she dispenses. Like the actual installation, there are only ten of them, but as I update and expand the card deck, the twitter bot will be updated too! Each fortune has 1-4 different variants for the Twitter feed, although all of the card readings are the same.

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