Community within Chaos

Senior+Judd+Brock-Edgar+discusses+his+favorite+streamer.+He+uses+Discord+to+share+clips+with+his+friends+virtually.+

Bethany Barker

Senior Judd Brock-Edgar discusses his favorite streamer. He uses Discord to share clips with his friends virtually.

By Bethany Barker, Hagerty High School

Roles, voice and text channels, moderation, and video game streaming: all perks of the instant messaging platform Discord. Discord, created by Hammer and Chisel Inc., was released in May of 2015 and has gained notoriety, particularly in the gaming community, for its efficient and organized platform for voice-calling and group chatting.

 Unlike Skype, which also allows for both text and voice communication, Discord organizes its communication primarily in servers. Servers are extremely customizable group chats that allow for the designation of roles and the creation of separate, topic-based text and voice channels. Servers can vary from group chats between small groups of friends to a world-wide community of artists, gamers, musicians, or anything in between. 

Discord has become popular with younger students, who use the platform for group chats between friends and especially for playing video games. 

“I use Discord to message and speak with friends, and it’s always the go-to pick for voice chat when playing games.” senior Judd Brock-Edgar said. 

Although playing games and conversing with friends are not the only reasons people are attracted to Discord. The platform provides easy access to worldwide communities for any topic of interest. If one is interested in a particular video game, chances are that there is a Discord server for it complete with a community that shares tips, art, and good conversation based around individual interests. This extends past gaming, communities for every interest and hobby are available to join and can be found in online directories or through invitations. On these worldwide servers, students make online friends.

“I use it with both my online and real life friends,” junior Nick Cryan said, “Mostly my online ones since most of my [real life] friends don’t have Discord and don’t play video games.”

Like many other instant messaging platforms, Discord users can encounter unsavory people and situations. Whether it be online “trolls” or disconcerting characters, running into users that ruin the experience is hard to avoid. Luckily, Discord utilizes strict security in regards to banning disagreeable people and reporting or blocking them is always an option. 

“Discord is filled with people that generally like to socialize online, and in that way they lack social skills and are therefore relatively easy targets to “troll,” senior Michael Rygh said, “The best way to deal with them is just to ignore them, or my personal preference is to befriend them.”

Bots are yet another feature to Discord that deepen a connection for users, they can be added to servers to perform a certain function. Popular bots include music bots that can join voice channels and stream music for all the users in the voice chat to hear. Other bots are just for entertainment, like the “Pokecord” bot that simulates a pokemon game within a server, giving users pokemon, prompting them to catch pokemon, and leveling them up. 

School clubs have also begun using Discord for keeping touch and discussing projects and dates. Hagerty’s ModSquad has a Discord  moderated by student-created bots that allows for a safe and appropriate educational space.

“Discord is a perfect way for them to be more involved,” sponsor Jonah Hardy said, “The main purpose is to foster a learning environment for students to work together outside of class. I have seen students who struggle with confidence in their work get praised by their peers for the content they are creating. That recognition by their peers bolsters their confidence and really gives them a push to work just a little bit harder.”

This story was originally published on Hagerty Journalism Today on November 11, 2020.