Is Discord a Good Solution for Group Video Conferencing?
Discovering new technologies
During the beginning of the 2020 global pandemic, I was recovering from a personal mental health crisis. In March of 2020, many things saved me; one of them was writing.
I also gained immense support from a virtual writing group that started organically through Instagram and Zoom. It was one woman’s idea. And, it took off. We met weekly for several months. We were both a writing group and a moral support group.
Writers came and went, while a core group of writers stayed on. In July there were some new arrivals. One of them touted the benefits of using Discord instead of Instagram and Zoom for our meetings.
Honestly, I wasn’t excited to add another platform to my daily rotation. Some writers were eager. They saw the benefit of merging Zoom and Instagram into an all-purpose application. Others were hesitant. Ultimately, we decided to give Discord a try. Discord isn’t designed for writing groups to video chat. That’s the thing about Innovation — it takes people who are willing to think outside of obvious uses and limitations.
For the techies who understand (not me)
Developers describe Discord as “All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that’s free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone”. Discord is a modern free voice & text chat app for groups of gamers. Our resilient Erlang backend running on the cloud has built in DDoS protection with automatic server failover. On the other hand, Zoom is detailed as “Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing”. Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and cross platform group chat into one easy-to-use platform. Our solution offers the best video, audio, and screen-sharing experience across Zoom Rooms, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and H.323/SIP room systems. -StackShare
We have been utilizing Discord for our writing group for about a month now. As with all platforms, there are pros and cons.
•Screen sharing capability
•Ability to separate threads of chats by subject.
•Ability to video or voice chat easily at any time within the app
•Ability to easily private message other group members
•Running group videos seem to bulk down our computers and put them into overdrive. There are problems with freezing screens and hearing others talk/ being heard.
•Adding another platform
For our writing group purposes, Discord makes sense for impromptu voice chats, private messaging, and sharing in group threads. It does not yet make sense for group video chats. For now, we will stick with Zoom for those as the quality of the calls is much better. Unfortunately, free Zoom video chats are limited in duration, so we must either pay the professional rate or make several links to keep our 2–3 hour meetings running as seamlessly as possible. And, we are now utilizing 3 platforms instead of 2, although Instagram looks to be the least used of the 3 since the switch to Discord for messaging.
Here’s hoping Discord’s video hosting capability is improved soon for those of us who wish to use it as a video conferencing application instead of a gaming one. That will be truly innovative!