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This Web App Fulfills Twitter’s Ultimate Purpose by Turning Random Tweets into Poetry

by: - Last updated on: September 27th, 2020

The Twitter thread has, over the past years, become one of the most powerful mediums of communication. By stitching together a series of tweets instead of letting you clumsily publish everything in a single post, the Twitter thread builds sort of a rhythm and impels the reader to interact with it. “A Twitter thread is like a poem“, said Dieter Bohn in his defense of the format. And he is right on many fronts.

But of course, yes, at the end of the day, tweets don’t form poems. What if they could, though?

thelongestpoemintheworld demo

A website appropriately titled “The longest poem in the world” makes it possible. The service randomly picks tweets and produces a stream of verses out of them. And it does work. To my surprise, some even made sense in an utterly silly context.

One of them read — “I’m convinced I’m nocturnal, Pizza crime is eternal.” which sounds like a poem a college undergrad would write at two in the morning while munching on leftover pizza. Similarly, another went like “This whole Sky Island arc is moving so slow, ok I gotta go” which again seems like something a stoned teenager would say while staring into the blue sky.

The web app also links each of the tweets to their original source so that you can view how stupendous the whole concept is. Here’s how it works — the algorithm begins by fetching a hundred tweets at a time through an official Twitter API. Among these, only those which are written in proper English move on to the next step where they’re forwarded to CMU Pronouncing Dictionary.

That framework obtains phonetic translations of each of the tweets which is basically a common measure for evaluating what a word actually sounds like. Once that’s done, the algorithm goes through the tweets with their phonetic translations and clubs whichever ones rhyme and discards the rest. It’s truly an ingenious approach and the results speak for themselves. Since it retrieves new tweets every time you refresh, everything is happening in real time too. So you never know, this could be the next big Internet meme people won’t be able to stop obsessing over. There are over 2,60,000 verses available right now which should be enough to keep you busy for hours. So go ahead, play around and have a laugh.

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