Popular Chatbot Publishing Platforms
Social and messaging platforms have become the most common places for hobbyists and experienced developers to learn about and interact with bots. These different types of chatbot platforms each have their own bots and allow users to build and deploy them. This article offers a comprehensive breakdown of the major players in this space and provides a chatbot platform comparison for anyone interested in deploying their own bot.
November 1, 2020
Developers deploy their chatbots from chatbot platforms, which serve as launchpads for devs of all experience levels. Hobbyists, amateurs, and experts alike use these tools to create bots to interact with users on a specific platform.
The three largest platforms for publishing chatbots are Twitter, Facebook, and Slack. Here’s a look at how developers use these tools to create bots.
A Twitter bot is a program that controls a Twitter account through Twitter’s API. The bot is fully capable of seeming like an actual Twitter profile. Twitter bots can autonomously like, follow, unfollow, tweet, retweet—and even direct message—using this publishing platform.
If you’ve ever used Twitter, you’ve probably spent some time looking at a strange account and wondering whether it was really authored by a human. You might have been followed or messaged by someone without a profile picture or with a username that’s just a string of numbers. And even if you’ve never seen a tweet in your life, you’ve probably heard about Russian Twitter bots influencing the last election in the United States.
It’s estimated that an astonishing 15 percent of Twitter users are bots. However, there’s no reason to fear them. In fact, many of these bots provide a variety of services for curious users.
Most of the popular Twitter bots exist to help users and to automate interactions. What the Fare can help estimate the cost of an Uber ride. If you’re curious about which shows are coming to Netflix, ask Netflix Bot about next month’s hot new releases.
Twitter bots can also create surreal or artistic experiences. For example, moth generator creates nonexistent yet realistic images of moths and their “scientific” names.
In addition, Twitter bots can go rogue, too. Take Microsoft’s Twitter bot Tay. Tay was a highly intelligent Twitter bot that learned its speech patterns from the users with which it communicated. Less than 24 hours after its release, it turned from a whimsical bot into a racist, sexist bully. It learned its communication skills from other Twitter users who taught the bot crude, offensive language.
If you plan on using Twitter as one of your chatbot platforms, a word of advice: You may not want to let the internet teach it how to talk.
Facebots are an unintended consequence of the Facebook Messenger app, and they’re changing the way we interact with messaging technology. Messenger used to be an app to talk to your friends. Today, it’s also an app for talking to apps.
For the last decade, companies and tools have developed apps to allow their customers to interact with their brands. But apps require extensive development, testing, and maintenance. More importantly, you have to convince users to download and use them.
A major difference seen in this platform, as compared to Twitter, is that Facebook publishes bots through Facebook Messenger, sidestepping the traditional app. It uses an existing tool that most users already have on their phones or computers. And it’s a lot easier to get someone to open a familiar tool than to get them to launch a download.
One of the most impressive bots? The Messenger-based personal assistant Niki allows users in India to buy movie tickets, search local businesses, get rideshare, send their laundry to the cleaners, or pay bills.
There are also Facebots for women trying to negotiate a better salary or for immigrants and refugees who want to connect with volunteer translators. The robot therapist Woebot lives in Messenger and helps users deal with depression and anxiety through conversation, inspiration, and educational quizzes.
Recently, new types of chatbot platforms for Messenger bots have provided an interesting new spin on Facebook bots. Bots can be displayed in the Messenger app without the chat interface. For some e-commerce brands, what may have started as a website became an app that became a bot that now just functions like a website. Sometimes the future of innovation surprises you with its familiarity.
Slack is a cloud-based digital workspace. A primary function of Slack is as an internal messaging platform, used widely by business teams, groups of friends, and networks of people who share a common interest.
One of Slack’s features that makes it such a successful platform is its capacity for modification and automation. Its Slackbot can be customized to perform many functions, and one of its main tasks is to provide basic insights into how to use Slack. If you type, Slackbot, how do I change my username?, it will answer.
Other times, Slackbot is more like an office assistant, reminding you of the Wi-Fi password and aggregating articles from your favorite reading list. It can also set reminders for meetings or log deadlines. Slackbot is even capable of managing emails and acting as a customer relationship manager.
Sometimes it’s more of a prankster. You can set Slackbot to respond in certain ways to keywords and phrases. An easy “Slack-hack” is to automate a message from Slackbot that no one expects. For example, offices across the world have probably used Slack to Rickroll each other thousands of times.
Slackbot can also integrate with project management software. Companies that use Trello for projects can use Trello for Slack. The results allow for seamless communication across both tools. Users can even create their own virtual assistants to help with day-to-day tasks.
And that’s only the tip of the Slackbot iceberg. Best of all, when compared to those on the other platforms, they’re among the simplest bots to build.
By checking out this chatbot platform comparison, you’re on the right track to start setting up your very own bot. Whether you want to publish a Twitter bot to monitor your local weather or a Slackbot equipped to crack jokes at your colleagues, each of these platforms provides a different service in publishing your bot. Should you decide you want to start building your first bot yourself, be sure to check out our most highly recommended beginner bot-building tools.