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Slack: An Alternative to Email

Posted by Julie Matheney on 6/15/15 11:09 AM

Back in 2013, our friend Jim told us about a company chat application called Slack. He’d never used it before but it sounded interesting so we decided to give it a shot. We signed up for an account in January of 2014 and never looked back.

Originally, we started using Slack, in the words of our CEO, “to kill the email monster” and it worked. If you're not familiar with the email monster, check out this awesome comic by The Oatmeal.

According to Amir, “Slack is the first (and only) tool we’ve ever used as a team that hit 100% adoption, and we hit that mark in the first week.” The application is truly remarkable. Here's our top 10 reasons why we use Slack.

 

1. To slay the email monster

Internal emails are not our thing. We’ve found that by using a giant-team-chat-application, we’re able to collaborate better, faster, stronger. All in one place. 

2. Custom emoji

slack_custom_emoji

Slack lets you choose from several different emoji styles and even let's you create your own custom emoji. During my first week at Paracosm, Emily used her Photoshop skillz to make an emoji of me from a childhood photo of mine. As you can see in the image above, we're big fans of turning real people from our team (and Coolio, apparently) into emoji. 

 

3. Channels

slack_random-1

Slack is divided into channels to keep conversations organized. As a default, Slack provides #random channel as a dedicated place for all non-work related banter. We use #random to post jokes, news bits, and cat videos. It's a safe space for tomfoolery that can provide moments of zen and comic relief without getting in the way of our real work.

 
4. It’s everywhere.

slack_anywhere

You can access Slack online from any computer with an internet connection, on your phone with the app, or install the software directly on your computer.

  

5. No spam
No sales emails, newsletters, or outside correspondence to deal with...just pure, unadulterated, team communication. We like it like that.

 

6. Integrations

slack_integration

Slack plays well with others. They support many tools we use, from Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Hangouts, to media mention notifications, and custom IFTTT integrations. You can integrate Slack with just about anything.

 

7. Search
slack_searchable 

You can search for keywords, pictures, documents, specific conversations and it’s all there. Slack has your back. It’s like a time capsule.

 

9. Transparency 
Our company values transparency. While Slack does support private channels, we put most everything out in the open. That way, anyone can know what’s going on and it’s easy to loop the right people in.

 

10. Versatility
You might think Slack is just for startups, but companies of all shapes, sizes, and industries are using it. I recommended it to our friends at GRACE Marketplace, our local homeless initiative, and they too have found it helpful for their team's communication.  


If you're sick of internal emails or just looking for a way to improve your team's communication, you might want to give Slack a shot. Completely changing your company's communication method is big decision but having a guide should help with the transition.

After a year of using Slack, we put together a Slack Guide to outline best practices, etiquette, and help our new hires get acquainted with the tool in the on-boarding process. Feel free to use our guide as a starting point, tailor it for your company's needs, and start Slacking.    

 
Download Slack Guide

 

Topics: Culture