The curious story of the Telegram in the night time

The curious story of the Telegram in the night time

Paul Bradshaw

This is chat app Telegram's new publishing tool. The interface is very similar to Medium, but it doesn't seem to require any login (at least, I've written this much without having to login, and the URL remains http://telegra.ph/).

Once you click 'Publish', the URL changes to one specific to your story. The 'Publish' button is now replaced by an 'Edit' button. I am assuming that editing is available through cookies: delete your cookies and you can no longer edit your articles (view it in another browser, for example, and there is no edit option).

The CMS is a very interesting development. Needless to say the lack of a login opens up interesting opportunities for anonymous publishing which could be difficult to trace (your IP address and cookie details would be stored somewhere, but given Telegram's hosting and interest in secure communications, it may be more difficult than usual for authorities to access those details).

Equally interesting, just as Facebook, Google and Apple have all launched their mobile-optimised formats (Instant Articles, AMP and Apple News), Telegram appears to be launching a format which is optimised for chat: Instant View.

This is limited to a few sites at the moment (Medium, funnily enough, being one of them), but the plan is to open this up to more platforms and "eventually every story on the Web". I've written more about that here.

Like Medium

Back to the CMS. Like Medium, you can select text and change it to one of two types of subheading, make it bold or italic, or turn it into a link, or a blockquote.

Like Medium, you can paste a Twitter, YouTube or Vimeo URL on its own line, and it will embed the video or tweet.

You can also embed images: start a new line and two buttons appear to the left: 

The image upload button appears to the left when you start a new line

The first allows you to embed tweets and videos, as mentioned above. The second allows you to upload images.

It's a neat tool: a quick and simple way to publish anonymously, similar to Pastebin services where you can quickly paste and share text but with a focus on presentation. Journalists might want to monitor sharing of telegra.ph-based URLs on social media for anonymous tip-offs...