Let me start with this – The reasons why I’m leaving might not apply to you but I’m sharing this because, if you’re like me struggling with multiple devices and have so many tabs open in your browser that you’re trying to get a grip on your communications set up, then perhaps this post is relevant. Google Hangouts would have been my top choice but it’s struck off because of 2 reasons – it’s way too laggy when you’re in many groups and it lacks some of the group functions that Telegram has. I still use Hangouts but not as a primary chat platform. I also use Skype for video and voice calls.
My decision to move is also not one motivated by security. I understand there are concerns over the encryption methods used by Telegram but my policy is simple, if I need something to be secure, do it in person or encrypt it myself.
Ok here goes….
I like Whatsapp. But it’s just not good enough. It’s antiquated by tying people down to a single device and a single phone number. What happens when I’d like to be using my tablet to do work? Right now, I’m expected to wield both my tablet and my phone.
Sure, you can tell me to use the ‘web whatsapp’ on my tablet. If you’ve tried that while having more than a 100 tabs open in chrome, you’d know that that’s just not practical. So no.
And group chats. So many people use group chats for both work and play these days and yet group chats in Whatsapp hasn’t made much improvements here compared to so many other chat apps.
1. Telegram allows for multiple instances to run across multiple devices simultaneously
I switch between 2 phones, a tablet, a laptop and a desktop. Sometimes I might also have a 3rd phone. To not be able to check for messages seamlessly across these devices is a bitch – it means If I actively want to use one device but have whatsapp installed on another phone, I’d have to constantly check the ‘WhatsApp phone’. Interruptions via the notifications tab is already disruptive enough. Having to actually switch devices just to check is terrible.
2. Telegram ties users to either a phone number and/OR a username
The username. We’re in 2015 already. We need to not be tied to a phone number. And sometimes we DON’T WANT to have to give someone our phone number just so we can be connected on a chat app.
3.Telegram group chats have the @ notification function which is extremely useful
Ok. So I use group chats for work. And I also use group chats with close friends. Biggest problem with group chats? They can be amazingly noisy. So what do I do? I mute the notifications for it.
But then that leads to a new problem – if it’s muted, how do I know there’s something that requires my attention? Telegram allows for you to type a user’s username with an @ in front (e.g. @ridz84) to alert the person that that specific line requires his/her attention.
Sure it could be misused (which is why I also brief group chats on group chat etiquette) but overall it means I get to be notified when it matters and I don’t have to deal with noisy chat situations when I don’t want to.
Want to try group chat? You can try it with me by clicking here
4. URL previews can show inline
You know how in WhatsApp links shared are just that? Well, I like that Telegram shows an inline preview of the site. And if it’s a URL to an image, then I get to see the image inline too which beats having to launch the browser!
5. Bots make things more fun!
One interesting thing that is still evolving on the telegram platform is how they allow you to add bots to group chats. Bots are basically like another person in the chat but they allow you to run certain automated function like hosting a game of Hangman or helping you randomly show an animated gif (I really like this one coz it adds ‘life’ to a group chat).
They have an API for developers to create their own bots so one can expect more stable and more useful ones in future…
6. They have a native client for every platform!
Whatsapp has the app running on your phone and the Web browser version.
When people ask me why I choose Telegram and I tell them because it’s cross platform, I’m often met with “Yah. But whatsapp has Web version now” Well, it just doesn’t cut it. I prefer a native client because then it runs independently and I can minimise it as opposed to running my browser just for chat. I tried using WhatsApp Web on my desktop but when you’re constantly trying to find the WhatsApp tab in the midst of 30 other tabs, it gets quite irritating. And to just have it run as a window is also irritating when I close my main browsing window followed by the WhatsApp window because when I relaunch Chrome, it loads my last closed window – which is just WhatsApp.
So yeah, with Telegram I just run a dedicated Windows client and minimise it to the system tray. They have a native client for all major platforms. And, yes, they have a Web browser version too if you want it.
7. Quite a number of people are actually already on it
This might not be true for everyone but a cursory glance at my contact list shows a lot of people already being on Telegram (jeng jeng jeng. I’m a late adopter) so it makes switching not too bad for me.
Some other features they have but isn’t really what I use at the moment:
8. Secret Chat
This is list a cross between Snapchat and Whatsapp. You can set a delay for the chat and msges get automatically deleted X seconds after it’s been viewed. And just like snapchat, if the other party takes a screenshot, you’ll be notified. It’s not something I’d recommend you take as a solid solution thought because someone could just use a separate phone or camera to ‘take a picture’ of the chat.
This is sort of like a broadcast list where the public can join. It’s strictly one way though.
Want to see how channels work? Join the Ridz.sg Telegram Channel here
So yeah. I wrote this because I figure I’ll have lots of explaining to do and it would be much easier to redirect folks to a URL than to repeat myself.
[contentblock id=1 img=iframe.png]