In some of my spare time I work with as a non-exec with a couple of legacy organisations to help them make sense of digital. The other day in a board meeting we were discussing the evolution of digital which could see apps like Snapchat and smart bots are replacing web pages.
The MD exclaimed “Hang on – I’ve just gotten my head around web sites – now you’re telling me we need to develop a bot?!”
I agree it can all be pretty mystifying as we’re not just looking at changes in technology, but the concomitant changes in media and user behaviour.
For organisations like the ones I work with who are interested in engaging with audiences I think it’s most useful to approach this from the point of view of user behaviour.
This video from the Evan Speigel, the founder of snapchat has been doing the rounds for a while, but it explains how snapchat users are using images as a form of conversation. But it helped me to understand not just snapchat, but all messaging apps and especially bots (messenger service based interfaces that users would engage with instead of a website).
If the dominant way of engaging with digital media is becoming conversation (as opposed to searching for, finding and then reading content or what has been described as the ‘read/write web’) then it makes sense that a user would prefer to have a conversation with an organisation through a message bot, than sort through the content on their website.
If you think about the way that users are now engaging with digital media (moving from desktops to mobile phones) then it makes sense that they want a form of engagement that better suits that format: phones are about conversation and computers are about a read / write exchange.