“When someone opens their phone,” said Frank Protocol, “If they connect with their friends, they click on Facebook or WhatsApp. If they connect with someone they work with, no matter where they work, they should click on Slack. (Note the comparison to social media here.)
Slack users and pundits alike often refer to the app as an email killer, and a feature like Slack Connect seems to be another nail in the email coffin. This is probably not the case. I say this not because the email is well—I have over 23,000 unread emails, and it’s not a humblebrag, it’s a cry for help, but because there are still fundamental differences between chats and Slack emails.
David Heinemeier Hansson, who created Ruby on Rails, co-founded productivity software company Basecamp, and rarely misses an opportunity to tout the benefits of Basecamp’s messaging product, pitched a few of these differentiators at WIRED: “The chat is real time, a staccato thought. Email is asynchronous, considered a reflection. Email is a protocol. You don’t lose your contact book because you change your system. Everyone has an email. “
Perhaps the worst thing about something like Slack Chat is that it’s “yet another platform,” says Heinemeier Hansson. “The last thing the world needs is yet another proprietary protocol that will lock down a social graph on a single business.”
Email structure can support more considerate experience (especially in the event of a pandemic). But slacks or texts can also be considered. Perhaps the most important question is whether Slack Connect is right for discuss, and what constitutes a good chat app in 2021. The first and perhaps most obvious characteristic of a good chat app is a tight-fitting approach to privacy and security. Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption; organizations currently cannot be verified as official businesses on the platform, which seems more important now that people from other organizations can send messages; and, well, there is the initial snafu of allow people to send potentially dangerous message attachments in DM requests. Also, sorry folks: employers can read your DM Slack, despite how private they may seem.
The next consideration is what kind of communication the chat actually allows. Slack’s cascade of real-time updates, its threading features, its programmable bots, and even the plethora of emoji and GIFs are as much a part of the app’s appeal as they are potential distractions. Microsoft’s Office applications are vegetables; Slack is a treat. But candy, of course, isn’t necessarily good for you. Anne Helen Peterson, a former media studies researcher who now writes a Substack newsletter on Internet culture, noted in the past that Slack has become a GN medium for our jobs – it’s a live role-playing game – and is one of the many professional apps that contribute to a “slippage” between our professional life and our personal life.