Will robots talking to robots be the future of social networking?
In the last few months one of the conversations about social CRM which has stuck in my mind was when someone told me that once they find their company mentioned on a social network – they aren’t sure if they should answer – or partake in the conversation. The concern had to do with not seeming creepy from a user-privacy perspective.
My feeling is companies do need to get involved with their online communities and many times they do need to get in the conversation and share their point of view.
So the first part of social CRM is listening and the second part is to use analytics and respond when needed.
But what is interesting to note is how technology may alter the face of social CRM based upon a chatbot which was developed to negotiate via tweets with global warming skeptics. @AI_AGW is where the bot can be found and it seeks out the skeptics and battles them with links to scientific sources.
Every five minutes the program searches Twitter for a few hundred phrases and when one turns up it begins to answer the messages it believes are anti-global warming in nature. The program has the ability to answer the same or similar repetitive arguments with different canned arguments which are said to make others think a real person is behind the tweets.
It is certainly a matter of time before this sort of technology is adopted for commercial use – for example if I am at a Starbucks complaining about the length of a line, perhaps a chatbot should apologize on behalf of the company and offer a coupon or a link to an app which would allow the person to order their drink while in line and pick it up without the need to have to wait to talk to a cashier.
AT&T for its part has taken social CRM to the next level by listening to tweets which mention dropped calls and then trying to pinpoint the area of the country where the call was dropped so as to improve the company’s network.
The company actually hopes more people will use Twitter when they have problems so they can use the information to improve their network.
Twitter as a medium allows only 140 characters per message which makes it somewhat easier to analyze and reply to messages via software and that is what makes the service so interesting to me… Over time technology which is successful chatting with Twitter users can be adopted to read blog posts and engage a dialogue in the comments as well.
Over time we will start to see more and more companies answering the tweet so to speak and coming up with sophisticated products which will help companies listen to, analyze and respond to Tweets without the need to deal with staffing and training a team. Of course as this happens we can also expect a suite of services which allow anyone to program social networking bots to push their point of view. And as this continues to happen we can expect social networking bloat on a scale of the spam many of us receive in our inboxes – in fact it may become worse.
One prediction I feel confident making? Expect a new wave of spam filters of the future focused on separating the wheat from the social chafe.