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Chatbots were the next big thing: what happened?

A great bot can be about as useful as an average app. When it comes to rich, sophisticated, multi-layered apps, there’s no competition. Today’s most successful bot experiences take a hybrid approach, incorporating chat into a broader strategy that encompasses more traditional elements.

Source: Chatbots were the next big thing: what happened?

This is a great article that was originally shared on STC San Diego’s Facebook page.

One of the things that often irritates me is that you go to a conference or attend a webinar, and you hear about the latest and greatest technology, and understandably, one gets mixed feelings about hearing about new technology (at least I do). On one hand, you are excited to hear about the latest innovations, and see how new technology has the potential to change things in great ways. On the other hand, it’s new, and it’s scary, and sometimes it’s complicated or deep. Add to that, the possibility of using that technology, for most of us, is still far away because our place of work is still not even to the standards of what’s available today (Windows 8, anyone?)

This article, while a little long, is worth the read, because it talks about those cycles of how new tech or concepts gets adopted, and also shows some great examples of why we shouldn’t fret, because sometimes the technology isn’t there yet.

As technical communicators, the idea of chat bots and AI has been shoved down our throats for the past year or so, much in the same way that content marketing had been for several years before that.  While technical communicators are definitely the people who should pay attention to chat bots, because they have the skills that can lend to making AI a more useable experience, most companies are not there yet, or are–again–forcing something that isn’t ready or sophisticated yet before its time. This article shows that clearly.

We can most definitely be part of technological advances going forward, but more often than not, where we work is not caught up with yesterday’s tech still. While we can help get things caught up, I don’t think the pressure that the industry is putting is necessary. Yes, we should be ready, but it’s not today. It might not even be tomorrow.  Getting panicked about writing for chatbots and such to create natural language and great user experiences are something we should think about now, but most of us are still trying to get our employers or clients to understand how to use social media (and that’s been out for more than ten years already).  Don’t get me wrong–technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, and we should definitely do our best to try to keep up with it or at least be knowledgeable about it.  But we really aren’t ready for it, and that’s okay. We’ll get there. There’s no rush. Better to do it right than winging it and hoping it will work okay.

What do you think of this article? Do you think the push is too hard, or it’s appropriate? Include your comments below.


Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

One thought on “Chatbots were the next big thing: what happened?

  1. Yeah, I definitely see the problem of having new technologies “crammed down our throats” while our actual jobs are stuck in the past. But it’s worth keeping an eye on the new things for two reasons: One, we learn things from the new that we can apply to the old (case in point: the Microsoft style tips for chatbots, which you featured in your last post, remind us to put the customer first in whatever we’re working on today); two, our familiarity with the new tech will give us an edge when a new job opportunity comes along someday.

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