Vendor Payments Bot

Twitter Bot Tweet Screenshot

Many cities have open data programs where various data points from the city are available online.

Kansas City Missouri is required to publish a report listing all city payments. This data is available via the website and also via an api at Open Data KC.

The Open data KC website is a great resource to explore, but I didn’t think the format is quite as accessible or interesting unless you’re someone that enjoys reading spreadsheets (me sometimes). Who wants to dig through a spreadsheet (again, me sometimes)?

Twitter seemed like an appropriate location to publish results and get at least a little engagement. Who doesn’t like a novelty twitter account?

It’s also an interesting way to cut the amount of data/noise out of the data set. Rather than looking at it all at once, random bite sized pieces are published as a tweet.

Twitter Bot Tweet Screenshot

I originally built in 2017 but I’ve adjusted it a few times. At one point it was posting every single payment (spread out throughout the day), but that became too much to post and it isn’t quite as interesting to see individual payments. As of 2020 the bot picks a random payment account or category every hour or so, sums up the total amount paid to the category, and tweets out the total the city has paid out to them so far this year.

Whenever I feel inspired I return to tweak and adjust the bot. I have plans to eventually add a few responses to questions and maybe make it a little more personable or relate the data to or compare it payments to standard goods/commodity prices.

Check out the bot on Twitter!