IRC Bots as Social Objects [en]

With the resurrection of #joiito, I’ve been struck by the role our channel bot (jibot) plays in catalysing interactions between us humans.

Jibot is a topic of discussion as Kevin Marks and others tinker with its various incarnations. We teach it stuff, check to see what it knows. We use it to say things about ourselves and others, but also to play (for example with the function “?cool <username>” implemented by Jens-Christian).

The IRC bot is clearly here a social object. It is an object that generates social interaction. Or maybe more simply, and object that makes us talk about it just by its simple existence. Because jibot is there before us, we have conversations, interact, get to know people that we wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been there. And jibot doesn’t really have to do anything to make that happen; it just has to be.

One thought on “IRC Bots as Social Objects [en]

  1. I also think IRC channel bots play / played a role in establishing tribes and inner circles. Once the channel bot was taught who you were, you were established as a regular and / or welcomed participant in the group. From the late ’90s / early /’00s I remember the associated ‘pride’ I felt when my info was added to a channel bot 🙂 Not just a social object I’d say, but also a totem or hearth at the center of a group.

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