Telegram is a highly-lauded alternative to WhatsApp. If you've ever used it, you must have noticed in the app that it has Channels and Groups besides the usual one-to-one chats. What is a Channel in Telegram? How does it differ from a Telegram Group? You can find answers to such questions in this post.
You can use Telegram as a simple chat app, broadcasting tool, or a group interaction medium using Channels and Groups. Each feature has its advantages and disadvantages over the other. By the end of the post, you will be clear about the differences between Groups and Channels and you will know which one to create.
Let's get started.
Telegram Channel vs Group: Basic Difference
is quite similar to WhatsApp's Broadcast feature to send one-way broadcast messages to the members, commonly known as subscribers. Only the admins can send messages in Telegram Channels. Other people cannot reply or send messages on the Channel.
On the contrary, Telegram Group
is like any other chat group where people can send messages and interact. That said, the group admins get permissions to restrict messages from members, make the group public or private, make other members as Admins, etc.
Let’s put it in perspective with the help of WhatsApp. Telegram Groups are similar to WhatsApp Groups, where people can interact with each other. Similar, Telegram's Channels are the power-charged versions of the WhatsApp Broadcast lists.
People who join a Telegram Group and Channels are referred to as members and subscribers, respectively. Groups can have up to 200,000 members. That said, Telegram Channels can have unlimited subscribers.
Who Can See Members
In Groups, the members can check other members in the group. On the other hand, the Channel subscribers cannot see other participants. So, they do not know who else subscribed to the Channel. That said, you can always see the total number of members/subscribers in a particular channel or group.
In short, Channel protects the privacy of the subscribers since they can't see each other. On the other hand, Channel allows its members to interact in the group or message each other privately.
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Telegram Channels come with an interesting feature to track how many people viewed the messages. You will notice a tiny eye icon next to the messages, and it gets updated every time someone sees the message. View counter helps in getting better insight into how your Channel is performing. This feature isn’t available in Groups.
You can add more admins to help manage the Group or Channel. Fortunately, you can customize the admin privileges, such as enabling/disable adding members, changing info, etc., in both of them.
Tip: If you want to track what each admin does, you have the Recent actions feature in Channels. To access it, open the Channel editing screen. Then tap on Recent actions.
Typically, when the admin sends a message in a Channel, it is sent with the Channel’s name. On the other hand, Group messages have the admin’s actual name.
But you can reverse the scenario in both cases. You can enable admin signature in Channels where messages will have the admin’s name along with the Channel’s name. Similarly, you can hide the admin’s name in Groups and send messages with the Group’s name for each admin separately by changing admin rights.
You can create Public or Private Groups as well as Channels. In private channels or groups, you need to add members or they can join using an invite link. When it comes to public groups or channels, you can use Telegram's built-in search to look for them. So anyone can search and join them.
Note: You can create a link in all types of Channels and Groups.
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When new subscribers join a Telegram Channel, they can see the entire message history right till the Channel's creation day. While the same feature is available in Groups, it can be disabled if you don't want new members to see older messages. You can do that by turning off the chat history feature in Group settings.
Send Silent Messages
Telegram Channels offer yet another interesting feature in the form of silent messages. Basically, the Channel admins can send silent messages to the subscribers. Telegram will send the messages to the recipients, but they won’t receive any sound notification for that message. This feature comes in handy for sending late-night messages or non-urgent messages. To use this, just tap on the tiny bell icon next to the typing area in the Channel. This feature isn’t available in Groups.
How to Know Whether You Have Joined a Group or Channel
One of the easiest ways to identify a Group is to look for online text at the top. Basically, you can see the number of people that are online at the moment in any group. Alternatively, tap on the group name. If you see Members, then you have joined a Group.
To identify a Channel, look for the eye icon next to the messages. Alternatively, if you do not see the members, that means you are in a Channel.
Some other features that are available in both of them include Channel/Group description, pinned messages, ability to search, edit messages, etc.
Convert Telegram Channel to Group and Vice Versa
You cannot directly convert a Channel to a Group or vice versa. However, you can use other workarounds to achieve the same. For instance, you can link a Group to a Channel. Anything that you post on a Channel will automatically be published to the linked Group. To do so, open the Channel settings and go to Discussion. Then either create a new Group or select an existing one.
On the other hand, to convert a Group into a Channel, you will have to restrict others from sending messages in the Group by changing Group permissions. That way, only the admin can send messages in Groups.
Tip: If you don’t want users to bombard Groups with random messages, you can set a time limit after which a user can send another message.
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Which One to Use
Be it Groups or Channels, both of them are loaded with unique and interesting features. If you only want to broadcast messages without letting people interact, you should go with Channels. As mentioned, you can always link a group to discuss things if the need arises.
However, if multiple people's conversation or interaction plays an important role, then Groups would be a better choice. You can always restrict it as per your need and convert it into a temporary Channel.
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