(tl;dr Bots are cool. Estherbot is cool. PodRec is my bot that recommends podcast episodes on Facebook Messenger.)

This is PodRec.

PodRec Logo

PodRec recommends you one podcast episode at a time based on my favorite podcasts. I regularly update the list of podcasts so that things stay fresh. I've already got one person that has come back 2 or 3 times and has loved one of my recommendations so much that she powered through a season in 1 day.

Bots are Back

Facebook delivered the bot platform that had been rumored for months just a couple of weeks ago. Before that, though, smooch.io introduced a platform for building bots that connected to a variety of chat clients. As the Messenger platform launched, so did smooch's connection to it.

Then Esther Crawford turned her résumé into Estherbot.

It was Esther's project that got me interested in making my own bot. I have been excited about them for some time, but seeing Esther's project on github really made me jump in and do it.

Curating Podcasts

I love podcasts and usually listen to 2 or 3 a day. Sometimes more. I'm actively working on making a podcast, as well. They are what I love to talk about, so everyone knows that I am willing to recommend my favorites.

I've also been making "buy or don't buy" posts for my friends on Facebook, providing recommendations for what tech is worth their money. When I commented on my latest one asking if people would like to see similar recommendations for podcasts, the idea was welcomed. I took that as an opportunity to build PodRec.

Make Your Own

Because of Esther, Estherbot, smooch.io, and Messenger, PodRec took a grand total of maybe 5 or 6 hours to build, including making things pretty and writing this blog post. With Esther's project on github it would probably take you that much time or less if you've got some javascript experience. Go check it out, and come back to tell me what you made!