PHONY: The Humans of New York Post Generator

The app itself got featured in Humans of New York in January 2014.

How it works

I was inspired by what-would-i-say to create a text generator for the popular Facebook page, Humans of New York. I love HONY. Each day, Brandon Stanton photographs interesting individuals and writes captions about them.

I figured: why not let a computer give his project a try? The program above assembles captions for stock photographs from Google Images. Captions are a sequence of alternating questions and answers. Each question and answer is randomly selected from a large pool of dialogue from the actual HONY Facebook page. When put together, the stock photographs and randomly selected text sometimes create amusing results.

This generator is NOT a Markov chain generator because it only randomly selects lines from a database. The results were simply more meaningful with this alternative implementation because many of the captions in HONY are Q&A conversations.

Some posts on Humans of New York cover deeply emotional topics. Please understand that post generation is completely random, and any semblance of real meaning is purely coincidental.

[ November 2013 ]


Thanks to Nihar Madhavan ‘15 for some Facebook scraping scripts. You should check out his awesome site too.

Other ⋅ November 2013

Humans of New York