You can’t login to LinkedIn or open an industry e-newsletter now without getting bombarded with headlines screaming about ChatGPT (and artificial intelligence in general) and how it’s coming for the roles of those in the creative industry. And while the thought leadership in the area seems to swing from one way to the other depending on perspective, one thing no one seems to have done yet is to ask the question of the artificial intelligence (AI) itself. So, that’s just what I decided to do.
The quick and dirty on ChatGPT
You’ve seen this a million times recently, so I’ll keep it brief.
- ChatGPT is an AI — a chatbot, if we’re getting super specific — that was launched in November 2022 and is currently still in its research phase.
- Users can create a free profile that allows them to have conversations with the AI on any topic, and those conversations are used to judge the efficacy of the AI for the research team. (They fully breakdown all of the details of how your content is used during the research phase here.)
- It’s optimized to sound like a real person because of its use of “Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback” (RLHF) – a method using human input/feedback to guide the AI on sounding more realistic based on millions of pieces of content being read and tagged by individuals working for the project. (Rolling Stone recently provided some light around the questions around the ethical nature of some RLHF work.)
Long story short, ChatGPT isn’t connected to the Internet, so the AI isn’t perfect, but it’s fascinating enough work that everyone’s curious about the possibilities.
ChatGPT and 5 community uses
Now I’ll be the first to admit that tackling this project felt a little strange — because it’s essentially talking to a computer — but after trying out its blog writing prowess I decided to just talk with it, similarly to how I would chat with anyone. Ask it questions I’m curious about and see what it has to say.
One of the first things I asked was about its “opinions” on how it should be used for community management work. It came up with the five same ideas in several different ways.
- Automation. Much like with any chatbot, ChatGPT can be set up to answer common questions and concerns that arise in your community. The benefit, directly from the AI itself: “you can free up a lot of time and energy that would otherwise be spent answering the same questions over and over again [a.k.a. Predictive support]. This can also help to ensure a consistent level of customer service, even when you’re not there to respond in real-time.” In other words, it could be a good tool to use for “after hours” assistance, frequently asked questions, triaging issues to connect with real people, etc.
- Polls and surveys. Or as ChatGPT put it, “gathering insights and feedback.” Now granted, they didn’t exactly spell out how this can be implemented (they don’t actually give you a lot of instructions on how to install this particular tool — research phase, what can you do?), but it can build polls and surveys which could eventually help you avoid worrying about adding yet another plugin to your community platform. Added bonus, per ChatGPT: “This can also help to build a stronger sense of community, as members feel heard and valued.”
- Content curation. Note, I didn’t say creation. ChatGPT recommends that community managers can use the “bot to search for and share articles, videos, and other resources related to your community’s interests, helping to keep the conversation fresh and relevant. This can also help to increase the sense of community, as members feel like they are part of a larger network of like-minded individuals.” Remember, you’ll still need to do some work on your own as the community manager or moderator after getting the suggestions as the AI is not connected to the Internet, so it can’t provide links. You will still have to make the final call as to whether its suggestions were relevant or not for your community’s purposes.
- Personalization. The explanation around this one was fairly vague, even after asking further questions about what it meant, so I’ll just share its answer directly and then provide my own interpretation.
From ChatGPT: “AI can also be used to personalize the user experience for members of an online community. By utilizing natural language processing and machine learning, ChatGPT can understand and respond to each member’s unique needs and preferences, building trust and fostering deeper connections.”
And: “By using natural language processing, I can create a personalized experience for each community member, helping to build trust and foster deeper connections.”
My thoughts: I guess that the AI is implying that it will be able to take personalization for each person beyond the means of just using personas and hoping you’ve covered the gamut of your community memberships. What that looks like in implementation — especially once the tool is beyond the research phase — I have no idea, but it sounds like you’re still going to need a lot of content and programming available for the bot to pull from.
- Enhancing engagement. Again, its explanation was relatively simple — kind of like whenever you use content that was written by ghost writers — but it seemed to boil down to AI’s personalization functionality and how that can lead to a sense of finding one’s people. In its own words, “Finally, AI can help to enhance community engagement by providing members with a more interactive and personalized experience. For example, ChatGPT can be used to facilitate virtual events and activities, bringing members together and fostering a sense of community.”
ChatGPT wants to help community managers
Remember how I said that I tried asking further questions to figure out what ChatGPT meant with some of its more generic answers? Well, that’s how I learned that contrary to what a lot of talking heads are speculating, AI is not here to take our roles. (And no, its answer didn’t sound like one that was coming from a robot planning to go Skynet on us.)
Lindsey: Would something like that be effective if you had a community that numbered in the thousands, for example? And how would you truly be able to personalize the experience for each member, especially those who are less engaged?
ChatGPT: An AI-powered gamification solution can be effective for communities of any size, including those with thousands of members. However, the specifics of how it is implemented will depend on the size and complexity of the community.
As for personalization, AI algorithms can be used to gather data about each member, such as their fitness level, goals, and preferences, and use that information to generate personalized workout programs. For members who are less engaged, the AI algorithm can provide incentives and encouragement to encourage their participation.
It’s worth noting that while AI can help personalize the experience, it’s important to also have human moderators and community managers who can connect with members and address any issues that arise. AI can provide support and automation, but it’s not a replacement for human connection and empathy.
Overall, AI-powered gamification can be a useful tool for increasing engagement in online communities, but its success will depend on the specific implementation and the role of human moderators and community managers in supporting the experience.
Lindsey: Interesting. So you’re even admitting that AI is an imperfect tool and it will still need the human element to make it an effective community tool.
ChatGPT: Yes, that’s correct. AI is a powerful tool that can help automate certain tasks and provide valuable insights, but it’s not a replacement for human interaction and empathy. In online communities, human moderators and community managers play a critical role in fostering a sense of community and addressing the needs and concerns of individual members.
While AI can assist in some aspects of community management, such as gamification and content creation, it’s important to have human oversight and involvement to ensure a positive and supportive experience for all members. The most effective online communities are those that leverage both the power of AI and the human touch of experienced community managers.