Slack isn’t new, and if you read what I write, you probably already know what it is – but in case you don’t: it’s group chat. Okay, it’s fancy group chat. It’s built so well with just the right kind of niceties to make its use a pleasure. An increasing number of teams and companies are using Slack for collaboration in the workplace, but not around my office.
Essentially fed by increasing frustration with Twitter, I’ve noticed a number of people start up Slack Teams to share with friends. I’ve been invited to a few of them myself, and the whole thing has been pretty refreshing. Because they’re not public, there’s far less fear of words/images/links reflecting poorly on everybody. It’s already a warm audience, so engagement isn’t measured in likes or retweets, rather in the very human way that we all prefer: we talk to each other. Conversations!
It’s not all perfect, of course. These are fairly closed rooms. Some have shared admin/invitation control, some do not, and either scenario has its risks. Does the team remain exclusive and private? Does the fun vibe of a small conversation get diluted or ruined entirely as the chatter increases to a hard-to-follow roar? Slack has a few things built-in that should, in theory, mitigate the latter. You can easily have private conversations with individuals, or create channels within a team for particular subjects or whatever.
I don’t want to worry too much about where it’s going, though. For now, it’s super fun to use something truly social on the internet again. It’s not about exposure, or having people follow my links, or any of that crap. It’s people, conversing.