Hate Using Zoom? Say Hello to Discord.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

Cameron Hailey, Contributing Writer

Over the past month, we’ve all become accustomed to Zoom, a conference calling app that seemingly came out of nowhere. Although it has become the standard for video conferences over the past month, the app begs the questions: Is it even the right app to use during this time? Are there better options?

Zoom has been criticized because of security flaws. Zoom lacks end-to-end encryption, and this can allow a hacker to track the data of the users of a call. A lawsuit has been filed in California about this security risk.

A competitor to Zoom that has gained a large user base over the past few years is Discord. Jason Citron created Discord in 2015. Discord’s original purpose was to give the video gaming community a way to communicate more efficiently.

But Discord has evolved into much more since its founding. With new functions such as live streaming programs, full chat and voice channels, and file sending capabilities. And this experience has become a secure way to communicate for all types of communities and businesses.

“We created Discord to bring people together around games. We’re humbled every day to learn how you use it for more.” Is said, in the “Why Discord” section of Discord’s website.

One of the limiting factors of Zoom is its inability to allow for constant servers or channels for communication. Discord allows for full 24/7 access to text chatting or voice and video calling using custom Discord servers.

This could allow professors at our university to have office hours through Discord servers where students could simply jump into a channel with the professor during that time. In addition, Discord allows students to collaborate by allowing them into channels together.

One concern would be managing all these functions. Discord has a simple solution for this, allowing for admin roles within the server. Professors and teaching assistants could have this role. The management of the server can be automated by rules set by the admin as well.

One of the difficult tasks of moving to fully online courses for professors is trying to retain class collaboration and participation. Having 24/7 servers will allow for students to work with others on assignments even when they are apart.

Discord now includes video calling within each server. The app has also released a live streaming function that allows anyone to stream any program. Whether it be Google Chrome or a program that could be useful for classes, all in HD quality.

Discord also allows for the use of custom bots, such as announcement bots, music bots, and others. File sharing enables students to send files, for example, a rough draft of a paper or a presentation all through the server directly to the hands of the professor.

The choice seems simple, Discord offers everything Zoom does not, a customizable, 24/7 communications service that will help many during this time of social distancing. So why use Zoom? Say hello to Discord.