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The Discord chat and messaging app is popular with video players who use it to plan a virtual enemy extermination strategy.
But Mieke Göttsche and Bianca Visagie, avid readers from South Africa, use Discord to organize thoughtful book club discussions.
I spoke with Göttsche and Visagie to better understand Discord’s appeal and why it’s negotiating with Microsoft for a deal that could go up to $ 10 billion. Chatting through how their book club uses the app has helped me better understand what the problem is.
They said they had considered holding book discussions on Zoom and tried group meetings on Instagram, but Discord is the ideal combination of flexibility, collaboration, and relative ease of use.
“Discord seems to be the most widespread and we can talk about multiple topics at the same time,” said Göttsche, 25 and completing a master’s degree in children’s and adolescent literature.
Like group messaging with family – but organized
Göttsche and Visagie taught me how their Better Reading Clubs use Discord. Think of the app like running group messages with your family members, except it’s meticulously organized by topic and has options for seamlessly switching from text to voice chat.
Each month’s book selection has its own text string, called a channel. The women split each book into four sections, and participants jumped into Discord at the same time every Monday to discuss chapters, mostly wildly back and forth between texts and symbols. feeling.
“I sit in bed at 11 p.m. every Monday and talk about my favorite books,” Visagie, 24, and living outside of Johannesburg, told me in a Discord magazine chat.
Quiet members are also welcome
Göttsche and Visagie told the participants that they should be free to observe. That is more welcome to some readers. (A library organized in Ontario a text-based introverted book club on Discord.)
In their book club, there are multiple channels, including one for members to tell a little bit about themselves and another for online game players to collaborate with us to play games. Group voice calls about what’s going on.
The “Now Reading” channel offers book discussions other than the one selected for that month. Recently, there has been a debate about whether it is worth keeping books rewriting or adding them to a heap of (unfinished) “DNFs”.
With tools to hide vandals
They also used a feature on Discord to avoid spoiling the plot twists. A club member asked in “Now Reading” if anyone has read “Legendborn”, a fantasy teen novel. Visagie replied that she did, with details about what she thought of the book – but she chose to turn off her text so people wouldn’t see the spoilers. Only people who click on Visagie’s posts can read her full message.
Discord is most commonly used by gamers for collaboration in multiplayer games, but people also used its screen-sharing feature to play tabletop games, and students used it to do homework together. (Discord has also struggled with people who use its apps in harm.)
A ‘grace of savings’ for a tough year
Göttsche and Visagie both blogged about books and formed a club last year when they found that pandemic life made them less able to remember and digest what they were reading.
Like many others who formed virtual communities last year, the book club proved especially valuable when normal life was disrupted. Göttsche has almost completed a master’s program in Ireland. And Visagie abandoned her plans to move to China after she had just completed her master’s degree.
“I miss physical interaction,” said Visagie, “but the digital book club is a pandemic boon.”
Intel, one of America’s pioneering tech companies, has recently fallen. Competitors have run ahead in the production of the most advanced computer chips. Things got so bad that Intel had to lobby the US government for taxpayer help, and it looked like the company could stop making at least some of its chips. Can you imagine if Ford had to outsource car manufacturing to Toyota?
But on Tuesday, Intel did something bold. Instead of rushing to make computer chips, Intel said it would do just the opposite: Grow bigger.
The company said it will spend $ 20 billion to build two new chip factories in Arizona. And all of a sudden, my colleague Don Clark wrote, Intel plans to start taking orders to manufacture computer chips for other companies. That’s what the global chip kings in Taiwan and South Korea do.
Intel’s choice can prove to be either smart or false. We shall see. But you have to give Intel some credit for chutzpah. We want risk-taking giants to succeed – certainly to help themselves, but hopefully it will be put into better products for the rest of us.
Time is not bad either. For both political and business reasons, this could be an ideal time to get bigger in computer chip manufacturing.
Government officials in the US and Europe have been worried about the shortage of computer chips related to the pandemic. They believe that industries and the military will have a more reliable supply if more chips are produced inside their borders than in Asia.
Essentially, Intel promises to give those governments what they want, and the company wants in return. Don reports that Intel hopes to negotiate with the Biden administration and other governments for help paying for those chip factories.
Before we go …
A financial service doesn’t protect people’s money: What happens when fledgling companies are sometimes not good at the basics? My colleague, Kellen Browning, has written about horror stories about people whose crypto savings app Coinbase accounts were frozen or robbed by attackers and they said they couldn’t accept it. get help from Coinbase.
A stab in Israel challenges the right to speech online: US internet companies take legal protections against what their users say online. But my colleague, David McCabe, considers a new legal argument that the powerful algorithms used by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter can make them complicit with offline crime.
Sell New York Times column, for press: My colleague, Kevin Roose, explains the zeal for NFTs, a type of digital collection that is the latest frontier in the crypto gold rush. Kevin has turned his column into NFT and will auction it up for charity.
This aging pet spider has had a hard time getting to its favorite botanical promenade. A small spider ramp helps it find its way. (Thanks to my colleague Adam Pasick for discovering this picture. And uhhh, don’t click on it if you’re surrounded by spiders.)
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