This is a simple introduction to Slack. I originally wrote this in danish to my own collegues trying to convince them of the benefits of Slack. Hopefully it will work and it might help you too. And sorry for the english. I blame Google Translate and bad education. You may leave a comment for any corrections.
What is Slack?
Slack is a team chat app. It works on three levels:
- Private groups
- All (#channels)
The purpose of Slack is to bring together internal communication and collaboration into one place. It makes communication more direct and transparent across the team.
Slack makes it easy to work together on documents, and can handle all the typical documents and files (word, pdf, jpg, google docs, zip, photoshop, etc.).
You can comment directly on the files, meaning you have all the right comments attached to the right files.
If you share a google docs it will automatically remain updated with the latest version.
Slack indexes the contents of every files you share, thereby making them easy searchable. This means you can for instance search the contents of a Word document, PDF or Google Docs.
At the same time, you can search all conversations, and Slack displays them in the context which they where written in.
The core of Slack is the chat.
One to One
You have the opportunity to chat one-to-one with a colleague. Exactly like say Skype or Messenger.
A group is a closed for specific members. A group could be Administration where all communications and collaboration concerning administration happens.
Channels are open to everyone. They can be used to share infomation or discuss something that concerns everyone. However, you can subscribe and unsubscribe to individual channels according to relevance.
A channel could be #inspiration where team members share articles, videos, documents and more to inspire their coworkers.
A channel is also an obvious place to get notification from the “outside world”.
Slack can be a sort of notification center for all the other services you use.
Examples of updates include:
- New document in a Google Drive folder
- New response to a Survey
- New comments or finished task in Pivotal Tracker or Trello
- New post from Twitter or Facebook
- New post from RSS feed
- New booking in Acuity Scheduling
- New conversation in HelpScout
Channels is an obvious place to assign notifications although you can assign it to private groups or yourself as well.
For instance you can have a channel called #socialmedia and get updates from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest the like.
Why Slack over email?
- Conversations and documents in one place for al team members
- You can work in groups, rather than in separate mails.
- For your team only. You will not be “disturbed” by others
- You can search the content of documents (word, pdf, powerpoint etc)
- You can more easily avoid multiple versions of the same document
- No spam
- You can control what notifications you want and what infomation to get.
- Slack is available as a native desktop application for Mac and PC and as app for iOS and Android
Where do we begin?
Depends on the size of your team and what you work with.
But always keep it simple! Here are a few suggestions:
1. The very simple
Leave Skype…Use Slack as your one-to-one chat. Nothing more.
2. The simple
With nr. 1 included
All team members use the #general channel for everything that involves all or most members.
3. The regular
With nr. 1 and 2 included
Create a new channel and assign notifications to it. It could be a #socialmedia channel with notification from Twitter or a #support channel for new conversations in HelpScout.
I didn’t suggest private groups because I think people will eventually create them themselves when needed.
So hopefullfy this can help you explain to your coworkers what Slack is and why you should use it.