July 8, 2020

Setting up a Discord Room for my Blog

A cozy space for real-time chat

I’m interested in new ways of creating conversation and discussion online. Quotebacks is a kind of attempt at encouraging cross-blog conversation. But in reality if we think of this blog as my “home” on the web - then conversation happens in a variety of spaces, but mostly on twitter.

But Twitter comments are of a particular type (the medium is the message!) - and are open by default. Increasingly I’m interested in slightly deeper conversations - the kind of things that happen in twitter DMs or over email. But these are often 1:1 - where many of them would be much more interesting as small group discussions.

So if my blog is one “space” and twitter is another “space” - what new spaces might exist?

  • Twitter: A realtime fully public commons
  • Website: A fully public but slower space
  • Tinyletter: A cozy space but a slower pace
  • Discord: A semi-public space for realtime conversation

Discord - a Realtime Cozy Chat Space

I’ve set up a “tomcritchlow” discord space1. I’m planning on using it for:

  • Longer/deeper discussions triggered from my blog or twitter (“take it to the discord!” instead of “take it to the DMs!”).
  • A more persistent space for people who want to review blog post drafts
  • A space to host real-time sessions

The plan is for this space to be fairly small, fairly quiet and more intimate than my public blog/twitter spaces. It looks like this:

I anticipate only a handful of active users at once and the number of channels is going to be limited. For now there’s discussion for:

  • #cafe: Casual chat and conversation
  • #introductions: Introduce yourself!
  • #indie-consulting: Chatting all things indie consulting
  • #blogging: Chatting all things blogs
  • #tomcritchlow-rss: RSS will auto-post blog posts here

The First Open Discord Session: Thinking in Public

I’m going to run an open session next Tuesday (14th July) at 1pm EST on the topic of Thinking in Public.

Hopefully this will be useful for:

  • Bloggers who are stuck
  • People who want to start blogging
  • Agencies interested in “content marketing” that doesn’t suck
  • Fans of the blog!

The format is going to be discord voice channel + a figma file. We’re gonna jam live!

Discord’s Future

Let’s not call it a community. Discord feels more like a space than a community - there’s no user accounts (you make a discord account not a tomcritchlow-discord account). And increasingly the open social spaces like twitter are fragmenting into smaller semi-public or private discord spaces. In my own groups Discord is rapidly out-pacing Slack as the default “space” for conversation.

Once they add threading Discord will really arrive 😂

Come and go as you please in my Discord - you can take or leave the chat spaces. Maybe you just want to join the session next Tuesday and that’s totally fine! Or maybe you want to really stick around and get comfortable - in which case great, grab a coffee and hang out.

Finally - because Discord is free I hope there are no (fewer) power dynamics at play. I can make this my own space, how I like. Want your own? Go get it!

Join my Discord here (Note access is now closed - DM me for an invite)

  1. Note I did try and set up a web-based chat space for my website using web sockets. It was fun and let us jam to music in sync but I could never quite get my code robust enough to actually work…. So here we are. 

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This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: