DemLabs blog

Just as with any interaction, people respond better when you speak their language and reply personally to their questions. How's this done online with thousands of people? Websites and email are a good start, but people now rely more on texting, social media, and smart devices to get information. How can information be personalized and delivered across all these channels quickly, easily and affordably?

Chatbots are programs that listen to incoming requests, analyze them and respond automatically with answers you've provided. They can even ask questions to get more details from the user before they provide an answer. New technology has made chatbots more affordable and easier to use. So for the same cost as it takes to update your web-site, you could have chatbots fielding questions for you on Facebook, SMS, Alexa and other channels.

Case study
VoteRiders is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 2012  to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. It informs and helps citizens to secure their voter ID and supports organizations, local volunteers, and communities to sustain voter ID education and assistance efforts. They concentrate especially on helping voters obtain the documents required by a state's voter ID law.

DemLabs and VoteRiders are collaborating to offer Voter ID-related information already available on their website initially through SMS, Facebook and Alexa. People can now get information automatically by texting, saying or messaging the state they're interested in. Try this:

Alexa              Say "Launch GO VOTE"
SMS               Type "Hello" to (415) 688-2920
Facebook       Click on 'Get Started' button in Messenger

VoteRiders maintains one primary source of information - but makes it available through these different means using Chatbots. This pilot project uses technology from Twilio, Google DialogFlow, Amazon Alexa and Facebook page.

What's next?
1. Consider low income voters in rural areas who have neither a cell phone nor internet access. Could an interactive voice response (IVR) chatbot arrange for them to request help with a ride to the polls or the DMV to get their voter ID using just a landline phone?
2. Could a candidate provide personalized answers to thousands of followers through Facebook Messenger?
3. Could a celebrity share special content (photos/video clips) with their fans and facilitate sign up to receive ongoing communications in the process?

These are some of the projects DemLabs is working on. To learn more and to see if chatbots could help your campaign, drop us a line. A human being will answer!


Co-Founder, DemLabs

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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.