I love technology. I devour tech news feeds, I geek out over fresh innovations, and I’m excited about how the world is changing in the new digital age. I’m in the business I’m in because I love technology.
However, there’s an emerging tech trend that I simply can’t bring myself to love, and that’s Bots. I can’t even get myself to ‘like’ them. Instead, I find myself loathing them with a passion.
Now, I understand why they’re there; they’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re cheap.
However, they’re also cold, impersonal, and, well… cheap!
I hate when I enter a chat room and a Bot greets me. I don’t feel welcomed, I don’t feel engaged, and I don’t feel connected with a community.
And for me, that’s what really matters. It’s why I work with a team of people, and not Bots.
I love watching my team work. They connect with the communities they work with. They welcome everyone who joins a group, they invite and actively encourage discussion and debate, and they’re good at it. When you enter a chat room which they’re moderating you feel welcome. You know that your thoughts and opinions matter and that there’s someone actually there who can respond, guide, and help you as necessary. As opposed to a Bot, who’s limited to answering a specific set of pre-set questions and little else.
People grow and learn. My team have seen the good and the bad. They’ve nurtured groups where you can feel the love, and they’ve handled groups which have been on the precipice of turning sour. Every interaction they have, with every happy contributor and every struggling newbie, they gain experience; experience which they can apply to all future interactions, across all future clients. As opposed to a Bot, which beyond the occasional update essentially stays the same.
Humans are nuanced, and you know who understands that? Other humans! An experienced admin knows when someone’s being a troll and trying to spread fud, versus someone who’s simply frustrated and maybe having a bad day. There is nothing quite like watching someone come around, seeing a ‘hater’ transformed into a ‘champion’. These are the people who will sing your praises from the rooftops, who will spread your message far wider than any bounty campaign because they’ve had their doubts, they’ve had their difficulties, and they’ve been shown that people care, that things really aren’t that bad. A human can do that. As opposed to a Bot, who is slow to build and quick to ban, doing little but inviting those who feel they’ve suffered an injustice to voice their complaints loud and proud across other social channels.
There are many other things I loathe about Bots (including security concerns which are a whole other discussion) but this is what bothers me most; they take the community out of community management.
I prefer to keep it in.
Am I wrong? What do you think? Human vs. Bot, who wins out?
I am a social media and community engagement professional, accomplished at growing active online communities, with over 20 years experience, and have worked on more than twelve ICO campaigns in the last year.