Falling in love/hate with Telegram

Posted on December 13, 2017. Filed under: blockchain, startups, venture capital |

Somewhere over the last few months Telegram has become my most used App on my homescreen. A friend invited me to a “secret group” made up of blockchain fancy people, and I dropped into something I had been missing since Twitter changed their @replies and public discourse logic in 2008 or so. At it’s core, Telegram is an encrypted messaging app, but it’s group discussion features have me gaga. I really miss the public conversation of old twitter, the ability to follow a back-and-forth conversation that was lost a long time ago, and Telegram has some really nice features such as public @replies and threading, that enable 200 or so people to all talk and follow along without getting lost. There’s an intimacy to a “secret group” and nice admin permissions that enable the host or creator to boot non-additive or abusive community members while governing new admissions as well. The combination of Telegram’s security profile and these group management features lead to an openness, risk taking, and trust within the groups I see, that is ideal for learning, getting to know and debate new people, and expressing thoughts and feelings that would be less relevant to a large and diverse following on Twitter.

It’s been fascinating to watch these groups find their cadence, build community, and make decisions together as they move from no governance at all, to increasingly structured governance over time. I admin a group that is made up mostly of people who have participated in our Crypto Club reading groups with new invitees joining every so often…and I have a newfound respect for forum moderators, group administrators, etc. Each group I’m in has a different complexion. The Crypto Club Reading Group tends to be pretty analytical, protocol design focussed, and there’s good discussion on emergent projects and individual mechanics within them. Some other groups I’m in tend to be more event driven, trading focussed, and they’ve become some of my best content discovery channels surfacing links and news related to blockchain well before I see things in Twitter or elsewhere.

A carefully curated Twitter feed used to be my primary flow of information and thoughts, but in Telegram I am finding similar properties around discovery of new information, with an added layer of openness, sentiment, analysis, and even entertainment as people get to know each other and personalities come out. I think in my head messaging platforms, encrypted or not, were tools for 1-1 or small group communication…but I’ve come to learn in Telegram that there is a happy place between public microphone, active conversation, and ever-evolving community where strangers and friends can publicly but intimately interact…it’s unique.

I say i’m falling in love/hate with Telegram because it’s quite consuming. My wife has noticed that I’m “always in that new chat app” and the cadence is on par with an active/bad Slack habit, or something to that effect. I deleted Slack form my phone 2 years ago for this very reason, but Telegram has pulled me back into a higher frequency discussion for better but also for worse. I am even in one group that kicks out members who have been inactive for more than 4 days…either you are there and you share the conversation (and addiction) or see you later!

Overall it’s been nice to connect the New York chapter of Crypto Club with the West Coast chapter, and I was looking for a way to do that for a while, and I’ve enjoyed finding new community and thought partners in other groups as well. It’s definitely a give and take, but overall I think I’m willing to succumb to the distraction Telegram brings…said another way “invite me to your best Telegram groups: jordan.cooper@gmail.com 🙂

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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