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June 26, 2014, 4:12 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: twitter.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   June 26, 2014

It’s the golden age of sports Twitter bots.

The New York Times now second-guesses NFL coaches’ play calls in real time with @NYT4thDownBot. If you’re flipping between NCAA tournament games, @NailbiterBot will let you know when a game gets tight.

Add to the list @ReplayLastGoal, whose purpose you can determine from its Twitter bio: “Twitter bot that automatically tweets the video replay and animated GIF of the latest #Worldcup goal.”

The open source project is from Xavier Damman, cofounder of Storify. The code’s up on GitHub, where he explains how the bot works:

It connects to a video live stream (that you need to provide) and keeps a buffer of about one minute worth of video. When a given twitter account tweets (by default @GoalFlash), it uses the buffer to generate a video of the goal and then tweets it.

It’s not quite highlight nirvana. The videos expire after 60 minutes. (If you really need that video, View Source is your friend.)

And @ReplayLastGoal occasionally goes down or tweets out plays that aren’t actually goals. (In all fairness, Ronaldo probably should’ve scored there for Portugal.)

It’s well known that the rise of DVRing and online streaming has put a premium on live events — the kind that can actually put a lot of viewers in front of a flatscreen at the same time. That’s driven the incredible price increase for sports broadcasting rights. Seeing an animated GIF in your Twitter feed isn’t the same thing as watching a live soccer match, of course — but bots like these (and the many, more sophisticated ones that will follow) let you experience some small part of the in-the-moment experience away from your TV.

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