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The two biggest challenges for small and mighty teams in the social sector is time and money. Opportunities to streamline important work can make such a difference. Have you heard something about AI writing tools and/or ChatGPT? Schools are banning it. Search engine optimization folks are debating whether Google is trying to detect writing by it and ding it in search. It's been making a bit of a buzz in its early days.
ChatGPT is an AI chat tool that showcases the good and bad of disruptive technologies. For teams working to create content consistently, this tool and thoughtful use of it can do a lot of timesaving good.
Okay, what is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a product of the company OpenAI. It was recently released to the public to use in what they call a “Free Research Preview”. You can check it out at chat.openai.com. It is also available to integrate into other tools and apps.
It defines itself as a “language model … that uses machine learning to generate human-like text”. Yeah, it said it "defines itself", which is kinda interesting, creepy interesting. It presents like a chat, and when I asked "What is ChatGPT and an AI writing tool all about?” here is the response I received.
“ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI that uses machine learning to generate human-like text. It is trained on a large dataset of written text, and can be used for a variety of natural language processing tasks such as language translation, question answering, and text completion. As an AI writing tool, it can be used to automatically generate written content for a variety of applications, such as chatbots, content creation, and more. It can also be fine-tuned to suit specific writing style and task, so it can generate text specific to a particular domain or industry, such as finance or healthcare.”
Using ChatGPT at chat.openai.com starts with you posing a question, prompt, or task using natural language. It then processes your request and does its best to respond.
Example of chatting with ChatGPT about itself.
In chat-life fashion, you can have a conversation around a topic. This includes asking follow up questions or making related requests that build on previous “dialogue”. In this way, the experience is very intuitive. Learning to post the "right" prompts and to know what's possible are key to productivity. Let's explore how ChatGPT can help.
What are some writing tasks ChatGPT can help with?
There are a host of practical examples for how ChatGPT and AI writing tools can save you time.
- Generate a list of topics to write about
- List different title ideas for an article or subject line for an email
- Create an outline for a new article
- Draft a new article
- Draft an email
- Suggest social posts for a topic or specific content that you provide
- Draft a translation of content you provide
For many of these, you ask for what you want. For others, you might have to provide content for it to respond to. We'll explore both in more detail below. Before that, what about the content's quality?
Asking ChatGPT to create a brief outline for an article.
Is the content generated any good?
The content that I’ve had ChatGPT generate so far is surprisingly decent. I tried having it draft a few full articles to test it out. What it did produce was completely reasonable content. This said, the drafts missed details and style that I like to have in our writing. Sentences were a bit heavy and felt a bit like an encyclopedia.
The writing generated, in certain contexts, is likely to miss the human factor. It won't include the experience and perspective of an informed author. It will miss out use of emotion to make connections with readers. These are qualities of your writing you may need for your organization’s writing as well.
So how good ChatGPT’s content will be for you is something you'll need to assess. There may be some content it produces that you find is usable, while others need editing. If you decide to use the content it generates, keep in mind that there is potential for plagiarism. It is possible that it will generate text similar to text derived from its training/source material.
Even if you opt to not use the content generated, as a resource to help save time to prepare, plan, and think about your writing, it is very compelling.
How to use ChatGPT to help with writing tasks
Getting ready to write a new blog can take many forms. You might start with a little research on the topic -- reading what others have said. You might create an outline. Then you start on a very rough draft. The above is to help you process your knowledge and explore what your take on the subject will be. This is time consuming. It is especially so if you already have expertise on the topic and are just trying to work through how best to share it.
So how can ChatGPT help?
The format of the main tool at chat.openai.com is a chat. I recommend you embrace that concept to explore your writing topic.
I like to use the chat and interview ChatGPT. For this article I asked about how it can help with writing for nonprofits. I started with general questions and then proceeded to ask more specific ones. I asked for a list of ways it could save time with writing tasks. I asked about specific uses cases, like how it can create social media posts from an article. This process helped me think through the topic. I gained validation, as well as found some suggestions of ideas to incorporate.
After a short time in chat, I felt I had the elements in mind to create a solid draft. This saved a lot of time. Of course, if you are writing about something you don't have experience with, researching beyond ChatGPT is likely still a good idea. You need to have some knowledge to vet ChatGPT as a source.
ChatGPT can help me explore different headlines and drafting social posts as I polish my article. This only further saves time.
Using ChatGPT to make content creation a little easier
AI is a class of disruptive technology that will change the nature of work. As I explored here, ChatGPT presents opportunities to save time when writing content. More so, the focus of content creators is on how to humanize the writing. The author addresses the things AI can’t offer, like context of relationships, experience, and creating connection through empathy. These are the important things that merit attention. For small and mighty teams in the social sector, tools like ChatGPT have immense potential. The more we can focus energy on building connection and save time on other tasks the better.
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