We were thinking of starting a Discord server and I wondered if anyone here uses it at all?
For those who don’t know, Discord is like a big instant messaging platform, think of it like big WhatsApp/Wechat groups that can be broken down into “mini-groups” like Mandarin, Korean, Resources, Introductions etc
I wondered if anyone had feedback on this idea or any experience with Discord.
We’ve built a lovely little online community here on this forum but we think we could push it even further by starting a Discord.
I use it personally with my friend, and with a teacher from my college. It’s a quite good platform, in my opinion, of course. Because with discord you can chat with other and do some “mini-groups”. So it’s really useful for me when I do some groups work. Also, I use discord for the video call with my friends, and it’s a good option on the platform.
I think discord could be a good project because of the mini-groups, like that students with the same level or learning language can chat with each other. And because Discord is also an app, so there are notifications who are really useful, because on the forum I always arrive late for the new dialogue (I have to check my mail more often )
I’m not a fan of Discord. I have it and use it. But it feels like just one more thing to check alongside forums, email lists, blogs, YouTube subs, WeChat, WhatsApp, and Telegram groups, Slacks, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The more concentrated a community is is one place, the better, at least in my book.
Edit: I should add that, despite my disdain for Discord, @Eva-Mandarin-HSK_1 makes a lot of good points. And there is a lot of power in Discord to do things you can’t do in a forum… even a really full-featured one like this, especially around audio and video calls.
I actually thought about suggesting this a few months ago! I think forums are very formal and kind of cumbersome, although they can be helpful for institutionalizing knowledge, i.e. anyone can read announcements, answered questions, and tips and suggestions, even months after the original conversation took place.
I haven’t been as active on the forum because honestly I forget to check it, but I know I would be a lot more involved in a more informal IM situation.
Discord would work really well although it’s primarily aimed at the gaming community, if I’m not mistaken. Slack is another great option that is very popular among the tech/business crowd. I think WeChat would make the most sense for our context, but I barely know how to use WeChat so I’m not aware of its capabilities.
I’m sure we could get a group chat started on WeChat, but I don’t know if it can be set up so it works how Discord and Slack do with the “mini-groups” Max mentioned. I think being able to have separate chats for separate things would be essential, otherwise it’ll be impossible to find what you’re looking for.
I would be happy with any platform, I’ve used both Discord and Slack before and think both are pretty good.
PS There is a certain online Mandarin school that I thought about enrolling with that has a Slack server. I promise I never took any classes with them though!!
I’m in some Discord servers and Slack channels for online programming classes, but never got into using them much. I think this is partially because in these instances they were mainly being used to institutionalize knowledge (as @Marco_Mandarin-HSK_4 put it), which I think an online forum is better suited for, rather than for real-time communication, which is what Discord/Slack/WeChat were designed for.
If LTL (or a group of LTL students) were to organize any live events (e.g., workshops, movie/game/KTV nights), I could see Discord being beneficial. Otherwise, I don’t see much advantage over a forum and agree with @Michael-Mandarin-HSK_2ish that keeping a community concentrated is generally better.
Thanks a lot for all your comments so far. Some really useful stuff.
I expected mixed feedback if I’m being honest. It’s new to me and admittedly quite overwhelming to start off with, but I’m getting the hang of it.
Let me address some comments you’ve all made:
Very much understand and feel this, especially as a Marketer myself. The more that comes out, the harder it becomes to manage. Tiktok was a prime example. I tried to avoid joining it here at LTL, but it got to a stage where I had to admit defeat, we needed to be on there, or else potentially lose place to our competition. That said, we now have 4 Tiktok channels (for our different languages) that run fairly seamlessly and bring us more exposure
Would I use it myself, absolutely not! But having our brand on there for Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Mandarin has enhanced our position online in my opinion, and gives that 16-30 bracket more chance of finding LTL.
Neither had I until recently! I think I tried to blank it out also more than anything. It was typically used by gamers and only gamers at first. It’s since expanded to be one of the largest Instant Messenger services in the world now.
Thanks for your comments Marco. So we’ve been using Wechat groups for years now but typically for our students based in China. The issue with Wechat is most of our students outside of China don’t use it, haven’t heard of it, or don’t wish to download “another app”. Whilst it’s been great at building a community inside the Middle Kingdom, doing the same for our worldwide community is much harder inside of Wechat.
You also raise another point about mini-groups inside a group. This isn’t possible in Wechat and makes Discord more attractive from that perspective.
Slack we also discussed interestingly but found more +'s with Discord.
Kudos for avoiding the other unnamed Mandarin school
Point very much taken. There is always a risk of spreading too much out on the table that people miss things.
Whilst I find this forum a great place for people to come and read casually, I wonder if Discord could provide more immediate feedback for people. Let’s say a teacher hasn’t turned up to a class or they want an answer to a question about a language, or maybe immediate contact with another current or former student. Maybe Discord could help moreso than a forum on those fronts? Just thinking aloud here.
Mini-groups inside of Discord could range from language resources, language level, students inside of China/Korea/Singapore, even language challenges to try and motivate people that bit more.
Please do feel free to continue the chat on this. It’s really useful for the team.
I’m very much an individual (as we are as a team) of, let’s try it and see what happens. If things don’t quite work as we wished, we lost nothing but a few hours of our time. If it helps provide our community with a greater resource, then it’s been time very much well spent.
Over my decade or so as a Marketer I’ve seen both sides of the coin but there’s nothing better than making a call that went way better than you expected!
I am in a couple language communities on discord and I have to say I think it is the best platform for growing a community that exists on the web! Everything is live and informal which I think makes it hugely superior to a thread forum. It can also be really well organized just like a thread forum because you can have several rooms tailored to what people like and tend to want to talk about (is. Could have a general questions room, a room for talking about languge or culture, or however it made sense to be split up). You can also have large voice call rooms which in my experience was really cool because you could have rooms for people to drop in at any time of day and practice speaking whichever language they want to practice (ie. could have a Mandarin chat room, Japanese chat room, etc.) I have never seen that as a feature on slack or any of the other platforms and I think that’s really cool. I personally also find discord to be MUCH user friendly than slack which the interface can get very messy and confusing.
The only con I can think of is that from a marketing perspective it may be more effort to adopt use of discord because the live aspect typically means that it might be expected that it is checked/replied to more often by mods (stuff can get buried in a live chat unlike a thread). But I think there are ways to work around this. I also think it is an absolutely amazing platform to build community on and it is really versatile and organized. It seems a bit overwhelming at first if you’ve never used it I think but easy to quickly pickup and even though it is not the platform I use most often, it is definitely my favourite social media platform when it comes to having an online community or group!
Thanks very much for taking the time to write about your experience with Discord.
I joined the Ninchanese one recently to get a feel for how it could work with a language learning school. So far, despite not participating too much, it’s good fun to check and be a part of.
You do mention one of my bigger fears though - 24/7 maintenance. Whilst our team covers Europe and Asia, we have no one based in the Americas and I worry about not being able to provide instant replies. The same goes for the weekend.
I understand we can use Bots to moderate to a level, but of course people want human replies. I need to try and find a way around this.