Social media platform, Discord has been around since 2015. The group chatting app was popular with the online video gamers who create chat rooms for fellow video gamers where they occasional go on endless rants about a new update on a game they didn’t like or who was a terrible or terrific opponent.
When bitcoin became the next big thing, it found a home on Discord. And, as soon as NFT came on the scene, Discord took it in. Blockchain companies quickly opened their channels using the platform to market their products.
In those days, users experienced relative peace of mind, except the occasional call out of gamers they didn’t like. On the app, they were able to seclude themselves from the endless ‘clapbacks’ and sometimes slide remarks that have dominated Twitter and ClubHouse, what millennials refer to as “violence.”
But that peace is rapidly eroding, at least in some channels with a rising number of Nigerian users who are not necessarily interested in gaming or crypto or NFT. Last month, Business of App released a report saying that “there are 6.7 million active servers on Discord, a growing number of which are not gaming related.”
As Discord becomes more popular and gears away from the niche circle of users, those patterns are gradually finding their roots on the app, which offers more features than Twitter, ClubHouse and Facebook combined.
How Discord works, ideally…
On Discord, users can not just live stream, utilise audio and text. But they can post timed messages that can disappear in seconds, and have a 2000 character limit. Twitter only allows 280 characters.
Despite the control that channel admins have (users can only join a channel if the admin permits them, and admins can restrict who gets to post on the channel), violence is gaining the foothold of the app, shattering a once-solid echo-chamber.
Popular audio streaming channels like The ClubHouse club, The Space have their own channel on Discord where members are notified of the trajectory of the conversation on ClubHouse in real-time.
Recently, when a ClubHouse influencer was discovered to be a catfish, users who shy away from talking on the stages, which can be chaotic or who just don’t want to have to wait their turn to speak for hours joined the Discord channel and aired their opinions. “This is very messy,” was what one of the admins of the channel said.
Old tropes abound
The old talk of conversations “triggering” people who choose to participate in the conversations is rearing its head.
“Discord is something that’s been used alongside ClubHouse for a while to give those who don’t want to speak on stage a chance to chime in,” Dozie, an admin on The Space said. “I always encourage people to remove themselves from spaces that trigger them.”
The Nigerian ClubHouse and Twitter cyberspace have always been drawn to unfettered conversations on the internet that sometimes run for hours un-end by mostly pseudo-anonymous users. These are accounts that have a name and maybe a face but is restricted to monikers and are never specific about what they do and where they work.
These unfettered conversations which range from feminism, free speech, to politics have landed on Discord and members are already asking that people who take the conversation to length they are uncomfortable with, be expelled from the channels.
“I do hope nobody gets piled on, but it’s inevitable depending on what they say,” Dozie said. “Unrestrained conversations happen behind closed doors anyway. It is educational to see how people think,” he added arguing about the importance of such conversations.
On the internet, there is an insatiable love for dissent. But this love like eros or agape or any love there is- is complicated. This love is only predicated on who can throw the hardest punch. When users give the most banging punchline in a dissent, that dissent is appreciated. That is when dissent is love. But when users are the ones being punched and punched down, that dissent quickly becomes “toxic” and more recently aggressively “violent.” This has gained mass appeal with users on Discord.
Unlike Twitter, where users are lucky if their followers see their tweets, on Discord, every member of the channel who wants to see the post will see it when they come on the app, except it was timed, and so it’s a given that their “gbas gbos” will be seen.
What lies ahead
In this early stage of users adding Discord to their internet experience, it is still largely a continuation of ClubHouse battles. The ClubHouse was in its early stage of gaining momentum, a continuation of Twitter wars.
Recently, the ADOS vs Africans fight, ClubHouse’ biggest staple trigger, spilt into Twitter and created an uproar for days on Twitter Spaces. Discord has not gotten to this point yet, but “the violence” has only just started.
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