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How can your station take advantage of chatbots? By the way, what’s a chatbot?

Chatbots are keyword-based resources that help you track things. In the simplest terms, bots (basically computer programs) track purchases, items you’re interested in, and breaking news. Other applications allow you to send the bot a chat message (e.g. chatbot) via a website, text message or mobile application to get a result. Example:

You: What Indian restaurants are near me?
Bot: Shiva and Tandoori are the closest to you.
You: What are the specials at Tandoori?
Bot: Tandoor offers free naan bread today.
You: What is Shiva’s address?

You get the idea. Chatbots are responsive to your requests.

recent Medium piece on chatbots and news helps you understand possible applications for community radio. There are some big benefits for you, as far as finding information or tracking news stories. For you in community radio, with small staffing, these bots can be like an auxiliary staff.

Here are a few examples of how news chatbots work.

If you’re not a technically sophisticated person or don’t do lots online, the prospect of setting up your own chatbot may sound wildly intimidating, even a bit scary. Bear in mind that technology today is more accessible and easy to use than it ever has been. Follow this tutorialto learn how to try setting up your own.

In setting up my own, I learned to try one chatbot, then got the feel for how it worked before adding more. If you’re new to this, or trying it out for your station, I strongly suggest you try just one, rather than diving in with 50 chatbots.

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