The Best Way to Keep in Touch (Digitally)

The Best Way to Keep in Touch (Digitally)

Emulate real life interaction in an app!

Do I even need to mention why keeping in touch digitally is more important than ever today? With people moving across globes for education and work, being good at keeping in touch has been important even before the pandemic.

There is a running joke among my friends about my ineptitude at keeping in touch. It may be an understatement to say that I was notoriously bad at keeping in touch. I’m not the best at texting back, and my ability to set up and commit to phone calls is… sigh. All of these are exact reasons why you should listen to me! I’ve made mistakes and experimented with different ways to keep in touch digitally and (I think) I finally have something that works very well.

This post is about things that make keeping in touch easier and how Discord has helped me immensely. The only reason I’m writing this post is because of how excited I’ve been about this app recently so most of it is likely to be… garbage fanfare about an app. Right up my alley. Let’s jump into it.

When it comes to keeping in touch digitally, the default ways are texting and calling. These serve the purpose but are overall poor options. Texting is inefficient and annoying – it’s completely asynchronous and you can never really tell someone’s tone through texts. Highly dissatisfying. Calls fix some of this, but they have their issues. Calls (if you aren’t good with them) need to be set up and when they happen they’re almost always… not great. They’re okay, but not great.

The problem with both of these options (texting and calling) is that we try to do digital communication in a way that is nothing like real life interaction.

We try to do digital communication in a way that is nothing like real life interaction. Bad idea.

Enter Discord. Discord almost perfectly emulates real life interaction. But… what even is Discord?

On the surface, Discord is “chat for gamers and a place for communities to interact”. Self explanatory but also jargon-y.

Think of Discord as a (digital) town. The way towns have houses, Discord has servers. Say it with me now: servers are like houses. The way houses have occupants and rooms, each Discord server has members and channels. The rooms (audio channels) are where the magic happens. In real life, you can tell who is sitting in a room, you can walk in & start talking to anyone inside. This is exactly how audio channels work in Discord. They’re rooms you can enter with one click. One click being the key words here: no scheduling required! No wondering whether someone is free! No friction! This is a huge deal for bad keeper-in-touchers like myself. This lack of friction also means you’re much more likely to consistently talk to people day after day. In other words, this makes it easier to keep in touch :)

Finally, in real life, conversations are rarely the only thing happening in social interaction. A lot of our conversations happen while we watch movies or play games. By combining Discord with Netflix Party and online board games (here’s my favorite), you can emulate this really well.

To recap, Discord emulates real life interaction by doing three things:

  1. removes friction between the ‘wantint to talk to someone’ and actually being able to talk to them
  2. makes it possible to keep in touch by making things so easy and natural
  3. allows for you to talk to people while you do a third thing (movies, board games, etc)

I’m only scratching the surface og what Discord is capable of. A few weeks ago, I used an audio channel in my server to hold a live event about writing processes. I’m planning to do more stuff like this! Come let me know whatever you want to talk about! :)

This post was never meant to be a post about how to keep in touch better in general – I’m the last person who should be talking about this, but I hope you got something of value from this and maybe even give Discord a try. Thanks for reading this quick post!

You can contact me if you want to talk about this post (or anything else really).