More and more people and organizations are discovering Telegram—and some are already kicked out for some understandable reason. There are even NGOs that use this messenger app to host groups—up to 5,000 members in a supergroup—to create a private channel or to connect with their target audience one on one. Why should you use this application instead of WhatsApp for instance (apart from the fact when your country chose to monitor all WhatsApp messages or ban WhatsApp)? One answer: security.
Security changes each day, so you also should look into the latest news on messaging apps security and talk with your organization’s security advisor.
Let me list the top three reasons to consider using Telegram for your ministry.
Maybe the first reason to use this app is that all messages are encrypted with a special key (for nerds: Diffie-Hellman key exchange). They even offer the option of a client to client encrypted connection, which they call a secret chat.
Encryption is important if you want to guarantee privacy: the privacy of your organization and the privacy of the conversations with the audience you are connecting with. One of the biggest concerns nowadays is the possibility of people violating this privacy with bad intentions. Some people know that technology is out there that is able to follow communication through platforms like Skype and WhatsApp for instance.
Encryption is important if you want to guarantee privacy: the privacy of your organization and the privacy of the conversations with the audience you are connecting with.
If your message can jeopardize the security of your audience because they are a minority under threat in any sense, 30 seconds might feel long already.
2. Self-Destruct Timer
The second feature that might be interesting for NGOs to use is that messages in the secret chats can be set on a self-destruct timer. This is about deleting messages. If you set this one on 30 seconds, your message will be deleted 30 seconds after the message has been read. There are several options in this timer, all between 1 second and 1 week.
The messages will be deleted on the devices of both users. This can have two sides. If you are connecting with people for psychological help and trauma support, they might want to read your messages longer than 15 seconds. If your message can jeopardize the security of your audience because they are a minority under threat in any sense, 30 seconds can feel like an eternity.
If your message can jeopardize the security of your audience because they are a minority under threat in any sense, 30 seconds can feel like an eternity.
The last reason has to do with a dilemma of some NGOs around phone numbers. What if you don’t want to give up your number, or you work in several countries and calling is just too expensive? Revealing your number might not be the best to do. Sometimes you want to connect with people without you want them to know your number.
Telegram is featuring that with the possibility to create a username. People can find you by your username instead of your number. In this way they can send you a message without giving up your identity if you don’t want to do that. This might be very helpful when you want to invite people for your private channel or add them to one of your groups.
Of course, if your research of your target audience shows that no one uses Telegram, then you’ll want to consider what your audience uses.
If you want to know more about this app and explore the possibilities, visit their FAQ page: https://telegram.org/faq.
While Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal often get used for direct messaging, our next article shows the possibilities for finding seekers using videos.