A man set up a bot account on Twitter, in an attempt to perform an experiment to see if an automated program could simulate itself into real networks and people.
Greg Marra, the man behind the experiment and a Google+ product manager, created the user @Trackgirl, which aimed to infiltrate a group of runners. The bot executed running-themed keywords and phrases, and posted them as its own.
@Trackbot would post about the agony and ecstacy of long-distance running, and “people were sympathizing with a Python script,” says Marra, as other users thought the copy/paste messages were real, and commented on and retweeted the posts.
Marra and the others who worked on his project thought his Twitter bots might fool a few people into adding them to their Twitter network, but they thought that would be the end of it. “We didn’t expect that people would interact with these bots. That’s not something we thought of at all.”