Behind Closed Doors: Building Christian Grey’s Chatbot

I’m constantly building bots to experiment and learn from.

When I built SelenaBot, I experimented with suggested questions and broadcasting messages.

When I built Jwoow’s chatbot, I experimented with daily / weekly Instagram updates.

When I built Christina Milian’s chatbot, I experimented with chatrooms, music streaming, watching videos and countless more.

Make no mistake, I work from a philosophy Seth Godin brilliantly talked about in an interview:

“If I fail more than you do, I win” — Seth Godin

Why I built a Christian Grey chatbot

I launched a chatbot of Christian Grey on the premier date of the movie “Fifty Shades Darker.”

The motivation was to learn how users interacted with a conversational UX.

No buttons, no menus.

It’s quite the opposite of what I believe most users want right now.

But you see, although Christian’s chatbot has a conversational UX, it isn’t actually conversational.

Christian Grey’s chatbot was built on Chatfuel.

I could’ve used Api.ai to help with natural language processing (NLP) but I still hold true to the belief that most people don’t really want to have a full conversation with a robot (except developers, I know).

Keeping it short and mysterious

I’m not a professional writer but I do know a few things about keeping people engaged through text.

See how I never write full paragraphs?

Sometimes my “paragraphs” are only two words.

Like this.

That’s because you’re most likely reading this on a mobile phone and long paragraphs are a turn off on mobile phones.

I learned this when I used to write for Elite Daily, a news site for millennials.

That’s why long paragraphs on chatbots are a no-no.

So instead of writing paragraphs of seductive and witty sentences coming from Christian, I chose to keep it short.

Keeping it short and keeping the user engaged at the same time can be tricky but there’s some things you can do that could help.

Asking the right questions

Typically when anyone (even chatbots) asks a question, our brains are forced to answer it.

That’s how you control a conversation.

For the most part.

Users wont always respond to an answer the way you expect them to.

So my challenge was to create a chatbot that’ll keep the user engaged no matter what the user said previously.

It seems like users respond well to questions and certain statements depending how you frame them.

Questions like “Can I trust you?”

Statements like “Ok, lets switch the topic. Describe how you’re feeling in one word.”

At its core, this chatbot only works if the user engages with it.

And the context of the conversation keeps it pretty entertaining.

So what do you get when you mix chatbots, sexting and Christian Grey?

“This is probably the most entertaining bot” — Seth Louey (Co-founder of BotList)