This week Witlingo introduced a new way to interact with Facebook: by voice. Companies now have the option to publish an Alexa skill that reads the content of their Facebook page through Witlingo’s Facebook program. According to Ahmed Bouzid, CEO of Witlingo, more than dozen clients are currently using the new social media tool for Alexa, with dozens more in development. The new Witlingo skill also has the ability to text users a link to the post, share posts and hear a 90-second audio message.
Facebook for Alexa
Think of it like a Flash Briefing. It gives companies a way to share content and engage with their Facebook followers in a new way. Bouzid believes it is also another way to facilitate adoption of Alexa and voice-first experiences. He told Voicebot in an interview today:
A key benefit is being able to introduce the far-field voice channel to their customers and getting them familiar with interacting with the brand via devices such Alexa products and Google Home. These skills are a way for organizations to dip their toes with minimal risk and gives us and them time to think about what additional capabilities we can add to the skills as we get feedback from clients about what they would like to be able to do.
While it may seem unusual to start with Facebook, as it heavily relies on visual content, unlike Twitter, Bouzid said the company chose to start with Facebook because of the rich content it provides.
Facebook is by far the medium where brands, organizations, non-profits, and cause-focused advocacy initiatives, as well as celebrities, engage their customers, followers and fans. Twitter is a lot more about sharing content and connecting with like-minded people. Moreover, the language used on twitter is by necessity elliptical, truncated and cryptic and not ready for the voice medium.
Making Content Voice-First Friendly
Even if Facebook is the better candidate inherently for audio, Witlingo’s clients still need to consider how their posts will “appear” on a voice-only platform. The company published a list of 12 guidelines to help their clients with the transition to voice, like putting hashtags at the end of the post instead of in the middle, to make for a better listening experience. Bouzid does not believe these guidelines will restrict or negatively impact how the posts are viewed on screen devices. Instead, he believes these guidelines will enhance their social media content as a whole. “Brevity, clean language, eschewing digressions, not being sloppy with your syntax and your spelling — all of that is wholesome for the written and read word as well,” said Bouzid.
He brings up a good point. Social media has changed how we communicate, especially how we write, and sometimes, not for the better. As more organizations see the benefits of Alexa and other voice assistants, it could change how we structure our communications so that it is both a pleasure to read and a pleasure to hear. This requirement could improve how we use the English language, as greater attention will need to be paid to how the language sounds. Could it eliminate the proliferating use of emojis and abbreviations which have become part of our lexicon today? IDK. Anything is possible.