In my new job as a bot-maker and product manager at Quartz, I've been asked lots to share my thots about bots.
For a deep dive about conversational interfaces and what they mean to journalism (according to me), you can check out this Nieman Lab interview.
If you'd like a quicker scan, here are some questions and answers I prepared ahead of a panel about bots organized by the New York City chapter of the Online News Association. Here are those notes, and some links, too:
What should you consider before you start working on a bot?
- You're entering uncharted territory! Have fun, explore, try new things.
- There are no obvious places to find your bot. Bot makers talk about "discoverability" of bots, which is pretty problematic everywhere at this point.
- So consider building where people already are interacting with you.
- Make a "worker bee" bot that does a particular task well -- not a "know it all" bot like Siri or Alexa.
- Is the information being exchanged sensitive? If so, think carefully. Making bots often means sending conversations through one or more 3rd-party services.