ChatGPT is going to revolutionise social impact communications
Are you using AI in your comms work yet? Should you be?
Dear Channels network,
Let’s wrap up 2022 and start the new year by discussing one of the big topics we predict will change how social impact communicators work in the future: ChatGPT.
We asked our LinkedIn followers: “are you using ChatGPT in your comms work?” The most common response: “What is ChatGPT? 😵💫” followed by “Not yet, should I be???”
We can see that all of you #SocialImpactComms people have questions, and you’re not alone!
So, what is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot, and it’s already changing the game for so many people across industries globally. Using it feels not so different than messaging Slackbot or any chat you encounter on a website which asks, “how can I help you today?”.
But it’s more than your average chatbot. It has the knowledge of the internet behind it. Imagine if SmarterChild from MSN Messenger (anyone else remember that?) and Google had a baby. A highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence baby that you could ask questions to. Now you’re getting the idea.
Usage is currently open to the public for free because ChatGPT is in its research and feedback-collection phase, which means it’s not necessarily the most sophisticated or mind-blowing technology ever. Still, we think it has the potential to be.
Do you know how it works? You type a question or prompt into the chat, such as: “write an outline for a blog post about how ChatGPT can revolutionise how communicators work, especially in the nonprofit sector?” and you get something like this:
Are you starting to imagine how this can change the game for comms people? 👀
How can communicators utilise ChatGPT?
Save time researching
I personally believe that the best functionality of ChatGPT for communicators would be to use it similarly to how you’d use a search engine. Need to understand how the voluntary carbon market works for the climate nonprofit you work for? Sure, you can type the same question into Google and read the first ten pages of responses, or you can ask ChatGPT for one quick summary.
Similarly to other programmes like Grammarly, you can ask ChatGPT to explain things differently. You can ask it to explain complex topics in lay terms or dive deep into the nitty-gritty details, depending on what you’re looking for.
Save time planning and brainstorming
Need help deciding what content to put out for your nonprofit? Ask the chat! Here’s an example that is relevant to the Channels audience.
What do you think? Would you like to see content like this on our social media?
Save time outlining, writing, and proofreading
The blank page is always the hardest place to start! Asking ChatGPT for an outline can help you get some ideas down on paper, which you can then cross out, rewrite, re-order, add some original thought leadership to, and voila! Educational content for your nonprofits just got a whole lot easier.
Another idea is for those with plenty of ideas but find it hard to turn that into convincing writing in a short and snappy way. Give the chatbot a really poor version of some content you need fine-tuned, and ask for it to be made into something more social media ready.
💡 Here’s an example: Nick Scott used ChatGPT to write fundraising copy for MSF.
You can also ask ChatGPT to proofread your blog posts, make them snappier, change them for different audiences, re-write for different channels, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Is ChatGPT coming for our jobs?
Are you starting to see a pattern in the ideas above? It’s all about saving time.
At the moment (and who knows how quickly this blog post can become outdated), ChatGPT cannot replace any communications professionals. Still, it can help competent communicators save time and stand out—especially those of us working in the social impact sector who are pressed for extra resources.
And yes, I still wrote this article the good ol’ fashioned way.
ChatGPT & ethics
You might be wondering: what are some ethical concerns about #SocialImpactComms professionals using ChatGPT? There are a few, and it makes sense that social impact communicators are aware of them.
Firstly, there are ethical questions surrounding any AI in general. From bias and transparency to privacy and control, there are a lot of ethical questions about how artificial intelligence will progress in the future, and what it means for society. It’s up to social impact communicators to decide how they feel about using AI in the first place and potentially discuss with their employers what impact it could have on their work. However, I also believe that tools like this are here to stay, and avoiding them will not make them more ethical or less dangerous.
ChatGPT is also free for now, but who knows how long that will be the case. And then: only a select few will be able to benefit from this powerful tool.
💡 Recommended reading: Testing ChatGPT’s ethical readiness from DataEthics.eu
Another ethical concern is for communicators specifically. Coming from a journalism background, I have had integrity and honesty drilled into my personal value set early in my studies.
What does it mean to have a tool that can write a whole blog post from a short prompt, which we can copy-paste onto our nonprofit’s website? What does it mean for us to rely more on online tools rather than the creativity and knowledge of human beings?
The future is now, and AI is here to stay. From Google Docs to Canva Magic Write, artificial intelligence writing bots have the power to revolutionise communications. Whether or not you use them, and how, is another decision that social impact communicators will have to make—and live with the consequences of.
Personally, I already rely on a series of free and paid tools that help me do my job (better, and in general): Grammarly, Google Workspace, Canva… and I can say that I will be adding ChatGPT to the list. Will you?
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Thank you for the idea about outlines. That could be so helpful for me. I don't think it's recommendable to use this tool to summarise research at this stage. A number of academics have noted that it can not be trusted with factual information, as it makes up sources and sometimes even creates entirely non-existent phenomena.
To me, the social media content ideas highlight where ChatGPT and other AP tools are still lacking. Because there is not a emotional brain behind it, it was unable to interpret the prompt to focus on content that would be specifically interesting to communicators. It simply churned out social impact-specific ideas.
Nuance, creativity and empathetic thinking seems to me to be the final frontier for AI - once they have this down, then the game will really change.