Use of Chatbots in Volunteering
Introduction. Practices of social bots are becoming more diverse, bots are used in politics, economics, culture, health care, education, etc. In this connection, the need to analyze this new digital technology for disseminating information by various social actors, pursuing different social goals (both destructive and constructive) has been mainstreamed. The authors focus on chatbots used by volunteer organizations to expand their social influence. The paper realizes the following objectives:
... owing objectives: it considers the innovative experience of using chatbots in the volunteer movement of a number of foreign countries, and also analyzes the use of chatbots by Russian volunteer organizations for the first time.Methodology and sources. The authors developed and applied a methodology for analyzing the structure and functions of chatbots by the following parameters: 1) the purpose of the chatbot; 2) the functions that it performs; 3) external characteristics of the bot; 4) the procedure for starting the bot; 5) the platform on which it operates; 6) the productivity of its activities.Results and discussion. The results of a comparative study of five identified bots according to these parameters showed that the goals of creating chatbots in the volunteer sphere of Russian charitable and non-profit organizations are determined by their functions. There were identified three main functions: fundraising; informing; recruiting. The external characteristics and launch procedures of the chatbots in question differ depending on the specificity of the platforms on which they operate (Telegram, Facebook Messenger, VKontakte). As a possible discussion, the authors consider such problems as further developing the typology of social bots, the prospect of using chatbots for Russian volunteer organizations, the development of parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of chatbots in the volunteer movement and adjusting their functioning.Conclusion. According to the results of the study, the authors conclude that the study of the field of application of "benign" bots is an extremely relevant, but poorly understood problem in modern science. In the paper, on the basis of studies carried out by foreign researchers (S. Savage, A. Monroy-Hernandez, T. Höllerer, K. Starbird, L. Palen), the productivity of such bots in the field of volunteering was shown, as well as the productive experience of similar digital technologies (in particular, chatbots) in the Russian volunteer movement was analyzed for the first time.