Using Discord to Keep up with Friends During the Quarantine
The Perfect Community for your Friends
Discord has been the MVP when it came to helping me keep in touch with my friends during this quarantine. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, there is no weird artificial inclination to get likes or retweets. There is just a barrage of memes and smooth jazz being blasted in the music channel. Although it was made with gamers in mind, I think Discord is a great platform for collaboration, catch-ups, and general hangouts with your friends. Even if you don’t play video games, here are some good reasons to use Discord and convince your friends to join the club.
Discord is relatively easy to set up. All you really need is an account and some friends to join the server. Unless you want access to some very optional premium features included in Discord Nitro, there is no cost to hosting a server. Once you’ve set up the server, you can choose to expand on your text channels or voice channels. You’ll only really need one voice channel and you can go to town with your Text Channels.
On my discord server, I have a channel for general discussion, creative projects, cooking, music, memes, and some other gag channels. This was one of the big improvements of using Discord over something like a Snapchat group chat. The ability to separate discussions and topics into their own groups helped organize everything and give the server a forum feel in the best way possible. As the ‘admin’ of the server, you’ll have to use your best judgment to determine what channels you want to keep or get rid of.
With Discord, you will also have more control over who gets invited to your group. You can set these restrictions yourself, and it helps to keep your Discord group to a select few of your friends. Although Discord can handle a lot of people — up to 500,000, I recommend keeping your circle small. You might not want to include members from your graduating high-school class.
Instead of just sharing it with everyone, the beauty of this platform is being able to pick and choose who you spend your time and experience with. In this way, it can be a lot more satisfying to check-in and share with the group. You can also customize to your heart’s content. My group went for a t-pose theme for our profile pictures (don’t ask why).
It Gives You an Excuse to Talk
It’s not as organic to set up a Skype call, a google hangout, or even a Facetime group video chat. Discord allows you to just have a dedicated space that friends can pop in whenever they’re bored. There’s no need to reach out to others beforehand. Often times, one of my friends will sit in general for about 30 mins listening to Groovy (a Discord bot that plays music) before a few of us decide to sporadically join. A Discord chat is the equivalent of an after-school meetup spot. After a few times, you don’t need anyone to invite you to show up, you just do because you know you’ll find other people there.
I’ve found that setting up chats or digital hangouts is sometimes successful when attempting to catch up with friends, but that Discord provides a way for those interactions to happen more often and organically. Discord is different. It creates a semi-permanent group that you can keep coming back to and revisiting. It’s really the closest thing that we’ll get to an after-work/after-school dingy bar hangout during this quarantine.