A Brief Introduction to Discord: A Communal Application

4 min read

What exactly is Discord, and what’s behind its popularity?

If you've spent any amount of time on YouTube, you’ve probably come across a video where towards the end, the creator says something like “Join my discord, link in the description.” Discord is a relatively new social media application that has been gaining traction over the past few years. Widely used in the English-speaking world, it has become so popular to the point many internet influencers are now opening Discord groups based on their content. But what exactly is Discord, and what’s behind its popularity?

A short background

Discord was founded by Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevsky, both of whom had previously built successful gaming platforms. Citron then founded Hammer & Chisel, a game development company that later created Discord. Discord was created to be an application that focuses on user-friendliness and provides high-quality chatting without affecting a game’s performance. When the founders were asked why they chose Discord as the name of the company, their answer was “...it sounded cool.”

Ever since its launch in 2015, Discord has been growing in popularity, While the founders say that the application wasn’t tailored to a specific audience, its adoption by the gaming community is behind its initial success. However, the main event that put Discord in the spotlight was the COVID pandemic. Since 2020, its users have grown in number and diversity that the company changed its motto from “Chat for Gamers” to “Chat for Communities and Friends.”

Behind its popularity

The main appeal of Discord is its communities. Individuals with niche interests can come together on Discord where they can chat through voice or text, share information about their interests, and do many other communal activities. Discord has, in a way, created a place where everyone belongs. Most social media, although they host a variety of content, have a kind of specialty. For Twitter, it's politics and pop culture, for Instagram, it's fashion trends and for Discord, it used to be gaming. Nowadays, however, Discord has a server for everything, whether it's gaming, movies, art, memes, or even academic content.

Moreover, Discord is popular for integrating several AI tools into its platform. You can. For example, add Chatgpt to your discord servers so that your community members can utilize it. Other AI tools such as DALL-E have a discord server where users can get its services. Discord also has its own AI-powered features like its chatbot Clyde. Much like Chatgpt, Clyde is an AI chatbot that uses OpenAI technology. While its currently an experimental feature that is free for use, Clyde is an effective tool with a promising future.

Getting started

The primary task of joining any social media is creating an account. Once you create your Discord account, you can then start joining servers. Servers are the main platform of Discord. A server is essentially a community in Discord. Once you join a server, there are numerous channels dedicated to specific activities in that community. For example, if you join a YouTuber’s Discord server, there might be channels for announcements, discussions, games…etc. Discord doesn’t run advertisements on its platform, so its main source of revenue is upgrades and customization. You can pay to upgrade your account and interface, which come with different privileges.

Apart from joining and participating in servers, you can also create your own. Discord has various server templates to choose from, or you can make your own custom server. Once you create your server, you can invite users to join, and voila, you have your own community.

To keep your server civil or protect it from harmful content, Discord has a moderation feature. This can be done in two ways; either you pick members from your community and assign them the role of moderator, or you can use bot moderation. Both have their pros and cons and using a combination of the two is the best way to keep your server safe.

Discord has shown itself to be a great platform that values community and social interaction. Depending on your usage, you can gain a lot of benefits from Discord. Small businesses, creative artists, or internet influencers can create communities that can support their brands. People with extremely niche and marginal interests can avoid isolation by interacting with like-minded folks. Overall, the emphasis on community over individualism makes Discord a great platform for young people today.

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