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I wasn’t exactly an early adopter of Slack. In fact, Brian Littleton had to almost drag me to it. But very quickly I came to understand why. I know at the outset it seems like just another tab you have to keep open on your computer, but once you start using it you will see why it might become your most important tab.
Explaining Slack is hard. It’s a combination of instant messenger, meeting place, calendar notices, and file sharing. There are so many integrations that you can include that you can make it do a variety of things that will streamline your processes and keep you organized. You could pretty much use Slack just by yourself and find it useful in a lot of ways, but there are so many benefits to joining a Slack group.
Collaboration is Key
Whether you are working with colleagues in a corporate setting, volunteering with a non-profit, or sharing information with people of like interests, Slack is perfect for collaborating. Once you join a Slack group, you can work with others in a public or private channel, start small group conversations, and send direct messages to people. You can send files back and forth easily and keep them organized. You can tag people you want to respond to something so you know that they will see it. Use a “thumbs up” for simple voting or weighing in on ideas.
Being a part of a Slack group means you can quickly get responses without interrupting the flow of your day. It’s easy to bounce ideas around. There is also a built-in search functionality so that if you know someone mentioned something at a point in the past, you can search back for it rather than asking them again.
Use Slack for Networking
There are a LOT of Slack groups out there that range in topics from affiliate marketing to small business to movie geeks. Some are paid groups and some are free. Not all of the groups are useful so you might want to start with groups that friends recommend and then branch out. But if you are wanting to meet new people online, it’s a great way to connect without becoming Facebook friends or giving away too much information.
You can always start your own Slack group for either a network of people you are already working with or a group that you want to grow.
I mentioned the integrations earlier. Here are a few of my favorite:
- RSS Feeds: I have a couple of channels of RSS feeds that keep me up to date on my favorite blogs and news sites. Because it shows me which entries I have already seen, I don’t miss anything. And I can pin anything I want to come back to.
- Reminders: My friend Eric Nagel recently wrote about the reminders. Since then, I have set them up for one-off tasks as well as daily reminders.
- Twitter: No need to use a separate app to keep an eye on your own Twitter account or others. You can have an “ImportantTweets” channel that keeps track of all of them for you.
If after all of that you aren’t convinced, you might just have to be pushed into it like I was by someone who doesn’t give you a choice. And then you will likely be glad that they did!
Are you using Slack to collaborate or network? What’s your favorite thing about it?