Slack trails YouTube in fifth place, with 31.2% of respondents listing it as a Top 5 channel. Discord rose to 13.8%, up from 2% the year prior. Despite not being as popular as Twitter, these two communication platforms are becoming valuable developer tools.
Discord and Slack are two channel-based communication platforms offering real-time messaging and file sharing. Although Slack has long been a standard for tech companies of all sizes, Discord has become a niche place for developers to collaborate, though originally founded as a communication for gamers.
We should consider why these channels have become increasingly important for developer communities.
Since its days as a tool just for developers, Slack has evolved into a business-wide team collaboration tool. Developers use Slack at work and in 3rd party communities to communicate and collaborate. Its popularity is largely due to its ease of use. When a Slack account is created, any number of channels can be created and segmented according to projects or interests.
Slack has become particularly popular among developers because of its ability to integrate with other tools. Suppose a developer uses GitHub to collaborate on a project. They can easily integrate their GitHub account with Slack to receive notifications about issues and pull requests directly in Slack.
For many years, Discord has been the preferred way for gamers to communicate with each other and stream their gameplay in real-time. It has expanded beyond simply a gaming social network. With the free platform, users can build their own servers around any interest or purpose - including developer communities. With its intuitive interface, it's easy to jump into a conversation right away. Additionally, Discord has several features that appeal to users, such as voice chat channels, custom emojis (including animated ones), and support for multiple platforms.
Developers use Discord much like any other online communication channel to facilitate discussion and community building. But the thing that makes Discord so unique is its social aspect: you can join multiple communities and have conversations about almost anything. It feels more like a social neighborhood than a business communication tool like Slack.
One of the most active developer communities on Discord is Ethereum, a blockchain network that supports the Ether cryptocurrency. Although the Ethereum community was once on Slack, they migrated to Discord when they were hit with a wave of new users and needed a better way to manage their large community.