Persona-fication or: Falling in Love with a Bot

A session at SXSW Interactive 2011

Tuesday 15th March, 2011

12:30pm to 1:30pm (CST)

By the time SXSW ‘11 kicks off, there will be well over 500 million “people” on Facebook and well over 250 million on Twitter.

We used to ask how many of the users on sites like MySpace had a real person on the other end. Today, as increasing sophisticated bots and artificial intelligence intersect with the simplified relationships that fill our social media spaces, we have passed the point where that really matters. The collective cry of the bots grows ever louder: "If you poke us, do we not tweet?"

Social touchpoints like toll-free numbers have long been manned by automated systems designed to put a barrier between the customer and the people behind the scenes. Is it any surprise that the same tactics are being used when it comes to social media?

This isn't just companies. The virtual world has always offered an opportunity to become someone else, from the earliest BBS and chat room environments to MMORPGs and now social networks. Even if you're not talking to a company-created bot, there's a good chance you're talking to someone pretending to be someone vastly different than their real world doppleganger.

When we establish relationships with people we've never met IRL, where does someone become real? And for someone looking for interactivity, how much does ‘real’ matter? If a relationship is little more than passing timely and relevant links and media back and forth, is finding out that you're sharing a friendship with a bot really such a bad thing?

LEVEL: Intermediate

About the speaker

This person is speaking at this event.
Kyle Bunch

Mobile/Social Platforms, @RGA. Co-founded @blogswithballs. Lover of technology, coffee, design, baseball and college football. Dad to @oliviabunch. bio from Twitter

Next session in TX Ballroom 2-4

3:30pm Cage Match: Social vs. Video by Russ Somers and Natanya Anderson

8 attendees

  • Kyle Bunch
  • teresa m. bücker
  • Noah Brier
  • joanne mcneil
  • Tim Holden
  • Nick Parish
  • Phoebe Connelly
  • Will Turnage

6 trackers

  • David Damore
  • Chris Heathcote
  • Dan W
  • Herman Kuiper
  • Patricia Marinho
  • Pelle Sten

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Time 12:30pm1:30pm CST

Date Tue 15th March 2011


TX Ballroom 2-4, Hyatt Regency Austin

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