The prevalence of working and studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has given a boost to the popularity of video conferencing applications worldwide. In this article, we discuss one of the most famous platforms in the market - Discord.
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What is Discord?
Discord is a social media platform. It provides features like video calling, chatting, etc, and is especially famous amongst gamers. Gamers use Discord to collaborate with their teammates. Being one of the older video conferencing applications, it has gained a fair share of popularity.
The pandemic has forced a lot of people to work from home. This includes professionals, students, and teachers. Discord can be used by teachers to teach their students online. An entire class can join a single server, from where they can all work, like in an actual classroom. Similarly, employees and their colleagues can do the same thing.
The application can also be used for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, the pandemic has separated people. Fortunately, they can get do a virtual get together using Discord.
Pros Of Using Discord
Discord is one of the most used video conferencing apps because of the features it offers. We have discussed them in detail to explain why it stands above its competitors.
A unique feature of Discord is the bots. A moderator can add bots to a server and they can perform many different tasks. Since Discord is such a popular application, it has a lot of support and many developers are continuously making new and different kinds of bots to be added to the platform. This opens the user to a variety of features that are practically unseen on any other video-conferencing application.
To download a bot, you need to search for the bot on your browser. The website related to it will open, with instructions provided to its installation. An example of a bot is the "MEE6" bot. It has multiple functions, including making sure no one in the party is abusive. Not just that, but it also can fetch and play any music from Youtube. This is especially amazing for gamers who appreciate a bit of hip-hop in heavy gaming sessions.
Discord has been around for a very long time. This means that the developers actively try to fix any issue they find or that is reported. Its popularity amongst the youth also means that it is widely used and Discord's developers have integrated many youth-centric applications like Twitch on the platform to boost the user base further.
The best part about Discord is that it's free. You don't need to pay to get anything. All the features are at your disposal without any kind of opt-in. To top it all off, there is no paid version for Discord - unlike some other apps which try and use the free version to lure users into paying for the extended service.
Excellent Audio And Video Quality
This category is slightly subjective. Many regard Discord a shaving one of best audio and video transmission available. In addition, you are able to decrease the sound quality if you have slow internet, so that the call you are on stays uninterrupted.
It should be noted that Discord isn't just a video conferencing app. It is very versatile, perhaps one of the most versatile pieces of open-source software out there. You can even use it as a medium for texting. Also, the availability of bots means that what you can achieve with Discord is endless.
Cons Of Using Discord
Despite Discord's popularity, it does come with its cons. We have discussed them here in detail for you.
Discord has a complicated user interface and, compared to other apps, it has a bit of a learning curve. But it also offers features that no other application does. If you are willing to learn how Discord works, then you will be fine. However, if you prefer simple interfaces, Discord might not be for you.
No E2EE Encryption
Discord lacks End-To-End Encryption (E2EE). E2EE refers to the encryption of transferred data, which is basically the process of changing regular data into incomprehensible (secure) data using a key. Many consider this a privacy breach risk. The lack of E2EE also means that hackers can more easily tap into your data.
Discord, too, acknowledges this fault and says that the exclusion of E2EE is a conscious decision. According to Discord, E2EE just hides the data from Discord. It is still as prone to hacking as standard encryption.
While they have "guaranteed" not to sell your data, Discord's Terms of Agreement might suggest something different. If you value your privacy, then this might not be the right platform for you.
How To Install Discord On A Mac
Here's how to install Discord on your Mac:
- Click on the Apple logo on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
- Select "System Preferences."
- Choose "Security and Privacy."
- Find the "Allow apps downloaded from" category.
- Change this to "App Store and identified developers."
- Open your browser.
- Click here.
- Select the "Download for OS X." You can also select "Open Discord on your Browser" if you don't want to install the application. The download will appear on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
- Wait for the download to complete. Once completed, click on it.
- Hover your cursor over the downloads.
- Select the DMG file.
- Drag the Discord icon to the Application icon.
- Open Finder and select Applications.
- Drag Discord to your home screen.
- Now you're free to use Discord.
How To Use Discord On A Mac
We mentioned that Discord has a bit of a learning curve. If you are having problems with understanding the interface, don't worry. Here is a brief guide to take you through the basics.
Setting up Discord is reasonably straightforward. You need to enter your email and password, and you should be good to go. But you may not know how to join a Discord server. To join a Discord server, you must have a link. If you are using Discord for work, then you should be provided with a link by your colleagues. If you don't have one, you can request the server link from a moderator.
Interface and Usage
The Discord interface and usage might confuse a lot of people. On the left side of the screen are all the servers that you have joined. There are also the names of the channels that are on a particular server. On the right-hand side is the current chat. There may be multiple bots added on a server. These bots can carry out a specific command. You have to give them a command first. If you don't know how to do that, then just ask someone on the server. Each bot is different, so there can be an infinite number of ways to give commands to different bots.
Alternatives To Discord
If you feel Discord isn't your thing, don't worry. Here are two good alternatives you can consider.
Zoom is arguably the most used video conferencing software. It has become seriously popular following the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoom is much more straightforward to use than Discord but carries a fraction of the features. It also has a 40-minute meeting limit for the free version, after which time you must pay. You can read a detailed review of Using Zoom On A Mac here.
Google's offering is the safest on the list. It offers E2EE and the free time limit for a meeting is 60 minutes. Google Meet is somewhat similar to Zoom and we recommend using this option if privacy is a significant concern. You can read more about it here.