These functions aren’t so different from those of previous chat apps, but Slack makes them look good (a friendly interface) and run better (speedy, reliable, with a strong search function).
All of this has earned Slack word-of-mouth enthusiasm, not something generally associated with workplace software.
In which case, some explanation: Slack is a workplace messaging app that lets co-workers easily carry on an assortment of group and individual conversations, some private and some public, all organized in a simple user interface; it’s chattier than sending an email, less of a hassle than scheduling a meeting.
It’s also easy to use on your phone — not so different from sending a text — and perhaps because of that ease, or because of the bright Silicon Valley affect it shares with services like Facebook and Instagram (Slack’s headquarters are in San Francisco), it tends to foster a dashed-off, emoji-laced vernacular. Such was the case in Laura’s office, where the salespeople, who are generally more senior, use Slack less than the account managers, who are generally more junior.
Laura works in ad sales at a well-known tech company.
Her office uses Slack, which is likely either as integral to your workday as email or you have never heard of it before.
What happens when we bring our digital selves to work? Valued at .8 billion last year, Slack claims 5 million daily active users across workplaces that include 21st Century Fox, Dow Jones, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Slack was not the first company to offer workplace chat and instant messaging: Before Slack, there was Campfire; there was Hip Chat. Slack comes in a free version with limited storage and features but also offers several tiers of expanded plans, priced per active user.
It also makes the line between work and not-work blurrier than ever — the constant scroll of maybe-relevant chatter in your chosen Slack channels registers at times like the background noise of any other newsfeed.For better or worse, it makes work life more like digital life, albeit a digital life where you can also smell what everyone else is eating for lunch.The question is, what does this intrusion do to the delicate diplomacy of office life?Open Slack, and it greets you with a friendly message as it loads: “Be cool. The day just got better.” Or: “Always get plenty of sleep, if you can.” (They’re all signed from “your friends at Slack.”) The left side of the screen lists your contacts and group “channels,” with green lights to indicate whether users are active and pink badges to mark unread messages.Star the people you talk to most and they’ll stay at the top of your list, or search for any other employee by name and start a new conversation.