Blogging & Social Media Tips

Telegram or Smoke Signals?

21 May , 2018  

Since shuttering my Facebook accounts, including WhatsApp and Instagram, I have had time to explore alternatives. I’ve tried out Viber and Signal, but the only Messenger replacement I’m really enjoying – while trying to recruit more users to make it more fun and interesting – is Telegram. In terms of privacy and security, it’s much more highly rated than WhatsApp. Which means that although it has many of the same features, it lacks integration with your contacts on Facebook or Google+. You have to know or seek out your friends, and the only way you can find them is if you have their phone number in your contacts already, or if they have set up – and you know – their telegram username. With a username, you needn’t give out your phone number, but anyone who knows it can contact you there. And you can block them, of course, if they’re obnoxious.

In terms of features and functionality, it seems to beat them all. There are clients for Android, iOS, PC, Mac, and Web. (You MUST install it on a phone, first, and that device needs to be handy in order to authenticate with PC or Web.)

You can set up a Channel– think “broadcast” – a form of one-way communication that people can subscribe to, but not comment on. Or you can set up a Group– a group can have anywhere from 2 to 100,000 members.

As a matter of principle, how can I resist a service that incites spontaneous paper plane protests in Moscow?

That said, any effective encryption software is bound to be implicated in bad uses. So is postal mail. Privacy matters, and unfortunately, it matters to both good people and bad people. It’s like freedom of speech – it’s not always speech we agree with. Telegram and others – including WhatsApp and even PlayStation – have been criticized as providing communication channels used by various terrorist organizations. So has the telephone. So has snail mail. It’s a strange and sometimes dangerous world we live in, but I’m not in favor of relinquishing essential rights and freedoms for a little illusory “safety.”

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here folding paper planes… and sharing with you the new sites I’ve found to be fun and interesting. As always, I hope you’ll check out all the links in my post. They’re not traps, I promise.

Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

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13 Responses

  1. Anklebuster says:

    This is cool. I use Trillian, but it is always fun to go where the party is. 🙂
    I felt like you were sending me a coded message, when you referenced ol’ Ben.
    See you on Telegram!

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  2. rummuser says:

    I envy you and wish that I could emulate you!

  3. Okay, I’ve finally gotten through this article; took me a while, but I knew I’d get there. It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve been a part of an instant messaging system. I used to enjoy them until Dad passed away and Mom eventually couldn’t keep up with it. So, I hadn’t been giving it any consideration, even after Mitch mentioned it to me.

    Now I’m thinking about it, strangely enough. Most of my days I’m here all alone with Mom; a little diversion here and there, someone I know to talk to (instead of doing Twitter all day) might be just what I need. I’m still thinking about it though.

  4. Anklebuster says:

    Yeah, and we can play with all the Shiny Objects revealed by the glow of the LED lamp. (Hint: there’s Zapier integration and, and stickers and secret rooms and stuff!)

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  5. Anklebuster says:

    I want to like IFTTT, I do. But I have had nothing but bad recipes with them. Like cookies with no sugar, that’s not much fun. I did forget that Zapier mostly connects to proprietary, business-related software.

    Bah! LOL

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  6. Anklebuster says:

    I am ever the optimist. Maybe I will log in to IFTTT and make up something. Hmmm…let’s see….

    Gmail was the main tool that failed, so maybe I can try something different. I don’t have any of the gadgets, so I’ll have to do something with Evernote.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  7. Hmm, I was using IFTTT before I ever set up TFA. But, that is good to know. But, how are the passwords stored in the IFTTT ecosystem?

  8. Kumar says:

    telegram is a great app, except the security matter it’s very similar to whatsapp.

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