How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet
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November 03 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet

This article from may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

One user, who goes by Vind on Discord, was among Discord's earliest cohort of users. He and his Battlefield 4-playing friends ditched TeamSpeak for the app, right as they were also starting to do more than just talk about Battlefield. "We were moving away from being purely about the game to being more about a general community." Discord let them set up different channels for different conversations, keep some order in the chaos, and jump in and out as they wanted. But Vind said one feature particularly stood out: "Being able to just jump on an empty voice chat, basically telling people, 'Hey, I'm here, do you want to join and talk?'"

Almost everyone I talked to picked that same example to explain why Discord just feels different from other apps. Voice chatting in Discord isn't like setting up a call, it doesn't involve dialing or sharing a link and password or anything at all formal. Every channel has a dedicated space for voice chat, and anyone who drops in is immediately connected and talking. The better metaphor than calling is walking into a room and plopping down on the sofa: You're simply saying, I'm here, what's up?

Eoin Treacy's view

The evolution of chatrooms for gamers into a real-world phenomenon for business is not going to occur without some bumps on the road. However, the quality of calls and ease of use is so much better than Zoom or RingCentral that it is hard to imagine these companies will hold onto their dominant market positions indefinitely.

Discord is the primary tool my eldest daughter uses to talk to her friends. She shares a virtual sofa with them most of the time. The experience is completely seamless and compares easily with the amount of time she spends scrolling through Instagram. Playing games together really is secondary to just hanging out in a common space, just like every other teenager. There is no reason why this exact same way of being together can’t be spun out into the workplace. The one thing people miss about the office is the social interaction of walking past someone’s desk or meeting in the kitchen. That kind of always on but casual interaction is a big part of the work experience for many people and it is something Discord excels at.

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