The Doorway to Discord: A Pathway to New Digital Communities.
Anitya case study
What exactly is Discord?…A communication platform for gamers.. Maybe something more ..Is it truly hyper-functional … Perhaps even something much more?
Discord is all about connecting like-minded people and providing a safe space for communities to form, for them to hang out and communicate seamlessly via text, audio, video chat; media, file, or screen sharing. Aside from being a great social-networking application and digital communication option, Discord is also super user-friendly and highly functional.
More specifically: a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or internet telephony, instant messaging, and digital distribution platform; Discord is made up of both private chats and a great many group/ subject-specific communities better known as “servers”. Discord servers typically feature different categories organizing topic-based (and permanent) text/audio/video channels, (but more on this later).
Two important factors setting Discord apart from other social media/ instant messaging platforms include:
The absence of algorithms at work behind the scenes narrowing down posts within a server according to previous interaction, and:
Secondly, Discord is completely without an advertisement economy, meaning zero ads (or marketing data mining).
Discord is free to use with downloadable app options for IOS and Android plus web browser and desktop client options for Windows, macOS and Linux. As reported by Co-founder/ CEO Jason Citron, some 19 million Discord servers of all sizes were active as of last year (Citron, 2021).
What is it behind the rising tide in online communities today in general?
It’s become somewhat common knowledge with various studies supporting the idea, that certain social media platforms may not be as social as originally imagined (keyword: mental health). And among young adults the increased use of particular platforms (including Facebook & Instagram) has even been associated with feelings of social isolation (Hobson, 2017).
Among the monetization of the individual influencer and expert, ‘perfect’-ly-rendered scripted realities, plus ruthless algorithms & data targeted advertising, social media seems to be creating more feelings of social distance, than fostering connections, creating a loss of community.
With this in mind and increasing globally perceived feelings of social distance approaching 2020, in hindsight it’s not with wonder that we observed a growing outreach from classic social media platforms toward those more community-based and offering higher social interaction and connection.
Although also fulfilling a necessary means of self-expression, the tangible limitation of certain platforms seems to be their lacking connection and sense of authentic community. And it was also in 2020 that Discord reflected this boom, roughly doubling its monthly user base to 140 million (Needleman, 2021).
With Discord seemingly so far out in front of other digital community options, what was the first-ever online community, and what did this look like?
With internet goers showing more and more preference toward online communities such as Reddit, Discord and others for unbiased, more authentic and open, experience based discussions, it’s tempting to draw a parallel to one of the very first online communities to have ever existed, “The WELL”. The Whole ‘Lectric Link, described by Wired Magazine as “the world’s most influential online community” and proclaimed to be the ‘primordial ooze’, where the online community of today was born, The WELL is also the origin of the term “virtual community”.
When the WELL‘s community began in 1985 in an era of dial up internet and slow processing computer power, advertising and marketing algorithms (albeit even images) were nowhere to be found. However familiar it may sound, the WELL’s layout is similar to a forum, featuring ‘conferences’ arranged around different topics, and sub conferences further organizing topics for community discussion. The WELL still exists today as a purely text based and very small community of discussions.
Is it possible that a mixture between today’s highly functional instant messaging technology and an original purely connection-based digital community provide the authentic interaction that users are now missing? Original member and eventual community manager Gail Anne Wiliams described The WELL’s conference space in the 90’s as a grande hotel:
“Sometimes it felt like a town with neighborhoods, and sometimes it felt like a grand old hotel with grand halls and many rooms. … In general, people drifted from place to place freely, and might show up in more than one part of the hotel on a given session when I wandered through, talking about politics in one conference room … trading side-splitting puns at the hotel bar, and making rash predictions about the future of human social networks around a grand old fireplace late in the evening. There were more parties going on in private rooms. Sometimes I’d hear from newcomers I didn’t know…”
The cool thing with audio/video channels on Discord is that they work in the same way as chat channels. Instead of users having to initiate a voice or video call with one another, simply clicking on a channel allows one to talk with whomever else is also in that specific chat space. Alternatively you can hang out in one of these until others inevitably join you. This creates relaxed and open spaces, easy to join with a feeling not dissimilar to wandering from room to room at an office, conference or social gathering.
Aside from this casual fun aspect within servers, the permanence of audio/video chats means that unlike with for e.g. zoom where invites and times must be set up and abided by (as group calls are terminated by the free version after just 40min) and calls require the host to remain for their duration (their leaving terminating the group) these channels can be wandered in and out of hassle free. Private group calls are also possible on Discord simply by creating a group DM and adding specific members.
Discord Community Under the Lens. — So How Does It Work? Anitya Case Study
For a clearer understanding, take our own Anitya community server.
The latest and greatest wonderchild of newkinco, Anitya is a community oriented metaverse creation platform moving together towards Web3, supporting all developments in immersive interactions and experiences. In providing and networking a community base for all interested in joining our project; creating a Discord server was without hesitation the natural and optimal choice.
Downloading the mobile app or (better still) desktop client allows for the best in navigation and UX, and is really the first step in joining up. Creating your profile with a degree of anonymity comfortable to you (with different usernames possible for each server) comes next. Then it’s on to finding servers of interest to you and joining communities. Aside from the public server discovery option showing Discord featured servers on desktop, it’s always necessary to find the official link of a community’s server ( an important step in avoiding scams). When it comes to Anitya for example you can find the Join Our Discord link on our official website, Instagram or Twitter.
Chances are, if there’s a subject you’d like to be more involved in: there’s a Discord community for you to join, and the beauty is that if not; you can create one! And soon you will be on your way to networking with others sharing skills and interests similar to your own.
Navigating a Server
We always encourage new members to actively engage within our server. Engaging is the best way to give and get the most out of the experience. There’s no reason to be afraid, after all engaging is the easiest way to meet new people and exchange knowledge, being a core purpose of any community.
The first thing you will encounter entering Anitya and most other servers are the community guidelines, within Anitya our ‘culture code’. This is how we see our community, the basic edicate and rules to be upheld to ensure we have a safe and appropriate place where there is respect for one another. Here at Anitya we really want to connect with other cool people, so be sure to read through carefully and then submit if you agree, to become free to navigate within.
Anitya Close Up
The first category you will see is “Rebirth”, an important part within anitya’s lore/mythology; here you will see everything you will need to get started. One of our bot’s (The Enlightened One) will welcome you aboard and direct you toward our “🔮choose-interests”, “💭suggestions”, “❔support,” and “👋introduce-yourself” channels.
As will be apparent, the server separates a whole bunch of different channels of discussion; from our NFT launches, to hang outs, to Web3 research, to our job board, to upcoming events of interest and a whole list of metaverse related topics.
Locate each topic that is an interest or curiosity of yours and interact with the corresponding emoji to unlock that channel within your account sidebar and away you go.
The introduce yourself chat is a great way to initiate interaction with the community as a whole, usually at some point after joining Anitya. All of our official links are also provided within the server. If ever you need any kind of assistance the Info Desk is a great place to go to. Here our ‘Ticket Tool’ bot will direct your concern to Anitya’s support residents and moderators, who will help you out promptly. At the Info Desk you will also find a suggestions chat and AMA section for general queries.
Our general chat is where you can keep up with everything going on related to the Anitya platform and is also accessible on the Anitya website as a public widget broadcast.
When checking into the community you may want to chime in and say “GM”, to join in on a positive note among others as you start your day, or perhaps evening. Our community is worldwide and you will see different members from all over the globe.
Many servers including Anitya make use of ‘level bots’ such as AktivityRank to grant points to community members based on their level of interaction. In Anitya this relates to the journey along a path of enlightenment based on the Anitya mythology from a “Self” to eventually becoming a “Nirvana”. Amongst the chat and audio/video channels you can also see locked spaces reserved for Nirvana discussions. Off to the right within the server you can view a list of all community members, their roles, profiles and online status etc. With so much more to experience and learn within Anitya’s server than is possible to cover here, we invite you to join and see for yourself!
Bonus Cool Featuresof Discord
Discord is jam-packed with super cool features. There are so many features we didn’t get to here, ranging from gaming or Spotify activity broadcast status, or custom statuses, to custom emoji creation, a bunch of keyboard shortcuts, or in-app echo cancellation and noise reduction for audio calls. Others include chat features such as spoiler ( type “/spoiler” at the start of a message); where your text is hidden until clicked upon, mark others‘ texts as spoilers, text to bot-audio read-out for messages (type /tts followed by a space preceding a message), and a bunch of external bots made for discord such as “groovy” that for e.g. lets you play music whilst on audio call. And these are just some of our favorites, there are many many more that make Discord so much more fun, performative and user friendly. Jump in and find out!