On November 5th, Telegram released several new features, including group topics. As technologists, we are often early adopters of new technology and features. As a community administrator, my first thought about this new feature was that it would help us organize discussions and content based on what people are interested in without creating and managing multiple groups.
Telegram group admins can now enable “Topics in Groups.” With the new feature, which can be turned on in groups with more than 200 members, users can make separate spaces for different topics. Similar to individual conversations, the “Topics in Groups” feature has its own media and notification options. Users will also be allowed to utilize bots, vote in polls, and pin remarks on the subject.
For those in big groups, where it can be difficult to follow conversations, it is quite helpful. In the “Group settings,” group administrators can turn on the feature. In “Permissions,” they can specify who is permitted to create and manage topics.
Pros of Group Topics
- Discussions and content can the segregated in their space. For example, discussions and content related to getting started in tech, meetups, courses, certifications, jobs, projects, and work-life balance can be in their own space
- Provides space for different focus groups, and user interests. E.g. new members and individuals based on their experience or area of study and work.
- Reduce the clutter of having multiple conversations and information discharge.
- Members can freely chat on any topic from Anime to Zoology, using all their favorite features like polls, pinned messages, and bots.
- Members can mute topics that they’re not interested in.
Cons of Telegram Group Topics
It goes without saying, whenever there’s a new technology, feature, or tool, there are always unexpected kinks, bugs, and issues that may arise. Of course, this is where software testing comes in to help mitigate problems and manage quality control before it lands in the hands of end users. Of course, not all issues are noticed and resolved by internal developers and testers. As a result, early adopters tend to be beta testers and bug reporters for new features while providing ideas for improving the overall app experience and functionality.
Here are some issues and disadvantages we’ve found so far:
- Messages that are sent prior to enabling topics are hidden, but we can retrieve them by disabling topics. Otherwise, we can use the Telegram X app.
- Users are unable to send scheduled messages.
- At the moment, Telegram Web does not support Group Topics.
- There might be unexpected behaviors and issues with bots that were added to the group. In other words, some bots may not support “Topics in Group”.
- Lack of support for groups with channels. Therefore, we had to remove the JD Channel to enable topics for our community.
- Problems with the “Share” external content to telegram on Android (possibly iOS as well)
- Individuals on older versions of telegram will get an unsupported message. We recommend that you put a disclaimer similar to the one below:
‼️NOTICE‼️: This group has been upgraded to use Topics. If you’re seeing this message pinned, and a lot of “Unsupported messages” then you need to upgrade your Telegram app in order for your messages to work as usual
- Sometimes Telegram Group Topic will eat messages.
You can view the list of issues with the new Telegram “Topics in Group” feature on their issue tracker.
Telegram’s “Topics in Group” is a great feature that helps you manage and monitor your group or community in one space (group) instead of multiple groups. It’s definitely going to be one of the core wins of Telegram going forwards. In fact, it may reduce the need of migrating to discord, slack, and other platforms.
Should you enable “Topics in Group”?
Short answer, wait until Telegram Web supports “Topics in Group”. There might be a lot of members using Telegram Web or previous versions of Telegram in your group, which will reduce your overall group interactions. Also, you may need to consider the bots, channels, and other tools that your group is using that may not support “Topics in Group” as yet.
However, my personal answer is yes, go ahead and enable it. I’m not saying this as a tech junkie, “Topics in Group” provides a more structured environment for discussion and content distribution. In addition, standardizing your group structure now is better than later when there are more members and chat history that may cause confusion and the possibility of not being able to access your group chat history.
If you want to learn more about Telegram’s “Topics in Group” and Nov 5th updates, you can visit Telegram’s Blog.
If you are interested in Tech and want to join our community, please visit our community forum. It will provide you with the link to our Telegram Chat.