Chatbots: the Future of Social Media

The rise of chatbots has made the news cycles as of late, whether its the rise of the DIY chatbot or the media swirl around Microsoft’s Tay. For those of you who don’t know, bots are the next fade in the rise of changing the way we use digital and social media to communicate with each other: the bots replace both human engagement and search interface to readily provide information for customers.

While this has seen interesting applications from resume bots (Estherbot) to scheduling/personal assistant bots (, I am predicting that this will have a broad and changing implication for how we engage across social media and apps in the future. Social media has required a huge amount of human time to create and engage with individuals — in large part this is the time required for 1:1 engagement and for creative social media content. A bot could effectively reduce the time required for both of those things but for it to be effective, the bot must require the creativity necessary for it to have real value to the community.

Value is something that is primary to setting up a social media strategy and you see it prominently in the Social Works System One Pager. You must have a value add for your community and in this case to engage with a chat bot, the bot must do something to provide value. Ideas include:

  • Becoming a “human friend” i.e. listening to and responding to chats and comments in a fun engaging way.
  • Making content easier to understand.
  • Providing always on customer service
  • Engaging with fun games and other entertaining means to provide distraction to a consumer.

As we plumb the depths of this work further, it will be fascinating to see who adopts and does not adopt bots as part of their integrated social plan. We are predicting that chat bots will become a fundamental part of how we use the internet – the question stands of whether or not it will change the way the internet reacts with us.

Have you considered using a chat bot? What stopped you or what propelled you to give it a try?