How I built a Facebook Messenger bot in 30 minutes Part 1

July 25, 2017

Posted: September 30, 2016, 11:48am

In early January, Chris Messina wrote an article stating that 2016 would be the year of “conversational commerce.” What does that mean? Who is that guy, anyway?

Well, first of all, Chris Messina is a thought-leader in the tech community. He’s also the guy who invented the #hashtag. So when I say thought-leader, I mean it when I say that he’s #awesome.

He wrote this article about chat bots. Messenger, What’s App, or Slack all have functionality now (or coming soon!) that allow users to message a robot (a programmed conversation-style response to users’ texts) for finding information, playing games, the possibilities are endless. Like any new technology, companies are still trying to figure out how best to use it.


If you’re on Facebook Messenger phone app, send someone a basketball emoji (or a soccer emoji, but hey, this is America..) to pull up a game (after tapping on the emoji) where you can compete with that person for the top score.

Or type in @fbchess to start a game of Chess with someone.

More subtle, if you mention Uber in a conversation with someone, a notification will pop up and redirect you to the Uber app if you wish. Very cool (and creepy?).

Bots or Apps?

So why would you use a bot over an app? We are all used to downloading iPhone apps, why do those darn computer people have to keep changing things on us? One of my favorite test-cases for bots over apps is a live entertainment. Say you’re at a basketball game and you see an advertisement that says “download the Lakers app for up-date-statistics

Well, let’s make one

Now that you want a bot for yourself, let me teach you how to make one. I made a simple one just for kicks and giggles, and i’ll explain that process to you in the next few blog posts.

My bot is very simple. I write articles for a blog, so I wanted to try to create an RSS feed for the blog and, anytime you message our Facebook page, it would return a random article from the blog to read. It’s a good, simple starting place.

Stay tuned for next week when I walk you through the steps to make this messenger bot!


Published on July 25th, 2017

Last updated on January 20th, 2021