Twitter is imploding, Meta is cutting jobs, and many social media users are currently looking for somewhere else to hang out. You might be thinking of moving to Discord and treating it like your main social media, but what is Discord anyway?
Let’s answer that question and more below.
What is Discord?
Discord is a server-based social network that focuses on smaller communities and text/voice chat channels, instead of content feeds like on Facebook or Twitter.
There’s no great big place to post content in Discord, as everything happens through servers that you can set up fairly easily. These servers can have chat channels set up, where you can post photos and videos, but it differs from Twitter and Facebook in that it has a great focus on privacy and fostering smaller groups of people.
You can’t follow people on Discord, nor is there a place that collates all of the posts you might be interested in. Instead, to get value out of the app, you need to join servers relevant to your interests.
What is Discord is used for?
Discord originally started as a gaming-oriented voice service for groups hanging out and playing online games together, but it has since shifted to communities more generally. As such, although the app is still massively popular among gamers, it’s a great app for communicating with people with similar interests.
In particular, online creators (like those from YouTube or Twitch, or those that have a following on other social media platforms) typically create servers for their fans to hang out together.
But it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not the mixing pot that Twitter is, because there’s no main feed. The closest thing to the Twitter feed on the app are the text-based channels inside servers.
How does Discord work?
Discord is a platform for servers to run on. Users create servers through Discord, which users can then join or be invited to (there’s also the ability for users to search for servers to join, although this feature is fairly basic and is usually only best for finding official servers for big brands).
Servers, in the case of Discord, usually stick to specific themes, which we discuss below, but within these servers, admins and moderators can set up text and voice channels for their users to communicate, send photos and share videos.
What are the benefits of using Discord?
Much like Mastodon, Discord has an emphasis on smaller amounts of people in contained, group-moderated servers. If you’ve got a group of people that you want to keep up-to-date on things, such as fans of a certain show, local communities planning events, etc.
Personally, I use Discord to get updates on games I’m interested in, such as Assassin’s Creed, which operates an official server on Discord. Apart from this, my family also operates a family-only Discord for posting photos, memes, for video calls and for playing online party games together.
What isn’t so good about Discord?
Unfortunately, Discord’s discoverability features are limited compared to Twitter and Facebook. Searching for accounts is much more difficult (as account profiles are very small and vague), posts are contained within servers and your experience on different servers can vary drastically (as they’re all moderated differently).
If you’re looking for a place to share your work or find people of similar interests, then you’ll need to find a Discord server for this. There’s no place to just post your work to, and you can’t rely on hashtags for people to find your work, as everything is contained within servers.
You can use it on the web, but there are also apps on PC and mobile platforms.
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