The end of the year is always a time of reflection.  We don’t typically delve into tech products on our blog, but when thinking back on 2016 it is hard to ignore this particular app.  The app is Slack and it has completely reshaped the way we work at Design Manager.

Many people are labeling Slack as a brilliant disrupter and possible killer of email, Facebook, etc.  So let’s take a closer look.

What is Slack?

Simply, Slack is a team communication app.  However, it is so much more than that because it acts as a hub for your internal communications where you can integrate anything from instant message, video calling, screen sharing, to-do lists, reminders, weather updates, file sharing, social media updates, and the list goes on.

Why has Slack become so popular?

Slack has grown exponentially since it started in 2013 because it is intuitive and easy for everyone to learn.  It organizes a company’s productivity and is especially helpful for remote teams.  In addition, it has tons of integrations that you can install within seconds.  Truth be told though, it’s just fun to use. There are reactions everywhere and you can far too easily make emojis of your coworkers.  Ask Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab, who helped create Slack’s secret sauce.

How do you use Slack?

Channels

Slack is organized into channels to separate your messages, discussions, and notifications by topic or department.

channels

Private Channels

If you want some privacy, Slack provides a way to make channels private so only the invited users can see content in that channel.

private-channels

Direct Messages

Think traditional instant messaging.  When you need to talk to just one person instead of a group, Slack provides Direct Messages.

 

direct-messages

Share Your Files

One of the most important pieces of collaboration is sharing files with your team members.  You can drag and drop files from any source into Slack.

 

share-your-files

Search

If you are like me and constantly searching through emails, then you will love searching in Slack.  Slack has a really high quality search feature that enables you to find key information quickly.

search

Notifications

Notifications can become overwhelming fast.  Slack allows you to fine-tune your notifications by channels, keywords, etc. so you can focus on your most important tasks.

notifications

Integrations

Integrations are what takes Slack from your normal instant messaging tool to your communication hub.  The hundreds of integrations allow you to funnel all of your notifications into a centralized location.

integration-partners

Two Quick Slack Tips

Tip #1: Using Stars as a To-Do List

Messages are coming at you in all different channels and you may not have time to deal with all of them right then and there.  Simply click on the star icon on a message and Slack puts those messages onto a separate list called Starred Items.  This allows you to quickly prioritize your messages and address them when you have time.

star

Tip #2: Setting Reminders

Sometimes the starred messages might not be enough or you might want to set a reminder to go off before an important meeting.  Slack has a convenient “Remind me about this” feature so you can set reminders with ease.

remind-me-about-this

 

This is one app that is not too techy for the average user.  Don’t slack on Slack in 2017.  Get started today at https://slack.com/.  If you already use Slack and want to add to the conversation or provide more tips, please use the comments section below.