Why use Slack?
- Slack offers a lot of IRC-like features: persistent chat rooms (channels) organized by topic, as well as private groups and direct messaging.
- All content inside Slack is searchable, including files, conversations, and people.
- Slack integrates with a large number of third-party services and supports community-built integrations. Major integrations include Google Drive, Trello & Dropbox. There are over 150 additional integrations that users can install.
- Adding apps to Slack keeps your team coordinated and working faster, all within the context of your conversations.
- Slack teams allow communities, groups, or teams to join through a specific URL or invitation sent by a team admin or owner. Many of these channels are categorized by topics which a group of people may be interested in discussing.
- Public channels allow team members to communicate without the use of email or group SMS (texting). They are open to everyone in the chat provided they have first been invited to join the client.
- Private channels allow for private conversation between smaller sects of the overall group. These can be used to break up large teams into their own respective projects.
- Direct messages allow users to send private messages to a specific user rather than a group of people. Direct messages can include up to nine people (the originator plus eight people). Once started this direct message group can be converted to a private channel.
When to use it?
- Slack should ideally replace texting, Skype & email for all internal business-related communication.
- There will be channels for any long-term topic-based discussions and direct messages can be used for idle chatter or one-off types of communication for which channels do not currently exist or need to be started.
How to use it?
- Channels: channels are used as conversation containers for any number of topics and projects. Typically, you might use channels for internal items like marketing, sales, HR, scheduling & company website development.
- As mentioned above, channels can be public to the entire company or can be private where only the creator and the folks the creator chooses to invite have access.
- Channels are fully searchable (up to 10k messages on a free account) and can serve as a public record for goals, progress and needed changes.
- Direct Messages: this function works much like Skype. DMs are personal, private conversations including the original 2 members plus up to 7 more individuals, as invited by the original 2 members.
- Team Member Mentions: in any channel (but not Direct Messages), typing the name of another team member with the @ in front of it (@mason), sends a notification to that member that they are being called into that discussion.
- If they are not currently a member of that channel, Slack will ask if you’d like to invite them to that channel.
- For those not receiving notifications for every single message in Slack (highly recommended!), Slack will treat this notification the same as a Direct Message.
- Notifications: notifications can be customized to alert you of as many different kinds of actions on Slack on any device as often or as rarely as you desire.
- ”All new messages” will alert you to any new messages on channels that you are a member of as well Direct Messages and mentions.
- “Direct messages, mentions & keywords” will only alert you to messages specifically intended for you.
- ”Nothing” turns off all notifications.
- ”My keywords” allows you select any word combinations (budget, ask the lawyers, website) and any time those keywords are used across Slack you will likewise be notified.
- A tidy sidebar: Using Slack’s preference pane (which is extremely useful and should be perused at length), you can clean up your sidebar to make sure that you only see the messages and channels that pertain to you or that you follow.
- While this might be less useful to companies with fewer team members or channels, it’s utility increases quickly as Slack becomes a more key component of your company communications.
- GoToMeeting: The GoToMeeting integration makes it easy to meet with co-workers right from a Slack channel, simplifying your workflow by removing the friction of switching platforms. Whether you’re in the office or on the road, get connected and get more done with GoToMeeting for Slack.
- Enhanced workflow – Transition from messaging to online meetings without interruption.
- Continuous collaboration – Ensure frictionless communication from Slack to GoToMeeting.
- Mobile meetings – Meet face to face in seconds from wherever you work.
Just type “/g2m” on any device or click the phone icon in a Slack channel to launch GoToMeeting. Once the session’s started, GoToMeeting will post links and phone numbers so everyone else can join, either through a Chrome browser or the GoToMeeting app.
- Google Drive: With the Google Drive app for Slack, you can access, share, and even create Google Drive files right from your workspace.
- Slack will only search and index Google Drive files that have been shared or created in Slack.
- All of your Google Docs (even the ones that are created or shared in Slack) are stored in Google Drive.
- Tettra: Tetra is an internal wiki for teams that use Slack. It’s a simple team collaboration tool with a great design that can help your team organize and share important knowledge in one place. You can even search the wiki right from Slack if you want to.
- Statsbot: If you use analytics tools like Google Analytics, New Relic, or Mixpanel, then Statsbot is a great app to add to Slack. Quite simply, Statsbot integrates with these tools and monitors your metrics. Then, whenever you want an analytics update, all you have to do is ask Statsbot for the number and you’ll get it instantaneously.
- Monkey Test It: With the Monkey Test It app installed, anyone in your organization can test your website for common bugs using the simple slash command /monkeytest (http://www.your-website.com). From there, the results will show up right in your chat window, no code required.