Slackers and Blabbers

Yesterday was one of those days where you get a sense for how fast our technology moves these days. Since returning from sabbatical, I have become a member of four different Slack teams — three through my organization, and one that is a marketing interest group (Online Geniuses). For those that are unfamiliar with Slack, it’s a messaging app for teams that allows you to set up your own team (think server or instance) which can then have different conversation topics within them.

Online Geniuses has started to riff on the popular “Ask Me Anything” (aka #AMA) model that was popularized on Reddit. Every day they are having one or more #AMA events with great guests from the world of online marketing. Yesterday featured Jonathan Hunt from Vox Media in some great discussion about how they run marketing inside a modern media house. Today featured Stella Garber, the head of marketing at Trello. The discussion basically happens inside the Slack “chat room” format, as a live feed (see below).

On the back of that session, I flipped over to where I had been invited to a short roundtable on Influencer Marketing. The discussion was real time, in live video and audio feeds. If you’ve used Google Hangouts for your marketing or thought leadership events, you will immediately fall in love with this format. I think my favorite aspects of it are:

  • Integration with Twitter for sign-in, contacts, and promotion during an event
  • When you complete a Blab, as the host you get sent the Audio file, Video file and embed codes for putting the event on your website.
  • A really compact interface for so much functionality
  • A great live schedule of scheduled and in-progress Blabs, so you can always find something to watch. Just now I popped in and found another Blab on the topic I was interested in (see below).

While I still love Google Hangouts, I think Team Blab is going to be serious competition given how slick the interface is. That will be a topic for another post though.

How do Slack and Blab compare when it comes to running events?

Both are fantastic for a fast moving live event. Slack is entirely text-based, so you need to consider that people need to be typing and actively monitoring the stream to watch for responses to their questions. That said, the interface of Slack has been tailored to support Q&A events like AskMeAnything quite well. It has the added benefit of making your audience work a little to participate, which I think can be a plus in this day and age.

Blab has the added benefit of being video and so it’s a bit easier to hang back and watch/listen, and if you’re so inclined you can join the ongoing tweet stream alongside the event. Again, another really well done interface that allows a pretty seamless transition between the two.

All of that said, one thing is very clear to me: Slack and Blab provide new feature rich alternatives for marketers to the classic webinar.

Looking forward to trying both out for my own events soon. Eager to hear experiences that any of you have had.

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Originally published at on October 1, 2015.