Before I get into my simple review of Slack, I want to share with you how I use it on the most basic level. One of my contractors reintroduced it to me recently. He was currently using it with his team. I heard about Slack but I never fully understood what it could do. This isn’t a life-changing form of software. It’s a nice upgrade from the ways I was communicating with people. I do see how it can help teams work together on deeper levels.
Before Slack, my colleague and I were communicating through Skype. Although I’ve been using Skype for over a decade it was nice to try something different. It simplified some of the things Skype was missing. When I created a group for one of my projects it was easy to add people. I could then connect developers and others all on one platform without doing much of anything. As long as they had an account the team was able to communicate.
Where I go from here is still not known. I plan to continue to use it and will ask people to communicate with this over Skype any day.
Here is a Breakdown of Slack
Instant Messaging is almost as old as the Internet. Chat rooms allowed online users to form groups and talk in real time. The breakthrough of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) gave everyone the ability to communicate with anyone else with a connection and a screen name. The full potential of instant messaging came when businesses began using them for intra-office communication.
Still, there was a natural divide between personal and commercial use messengers. There was no quality crossover program until the new-age and slick looking Slack.
Slack combines the most basic elements of online messaging with intricate features like channels, threads, and integrations. The add-ons and organization of the program make it the premier instant messaging system for either business or social groups.
Why Slack is Different
Most other business systems like Skype and Microsoft Lync limit features to one to one communication or possibly creating a group chat. Skype gives a new level of customization. All users can add a picture, change their username, and even add custom icons and emojis.
Administrators have the ability to control permissions for any users. One great feature about the program is the ability to create specific “channels” that can pertain to a specific purpose. For administrators, the channel feature allows them to limit comments in a channel, which is useful for strictly business communications.
Where Slack Gets It Right
It’s fun to use. Slack has built-in add-ons which let users upload images or share gif files. They can customize their username and add emojis to give the app a little more personal touch.
Slack is easy to use. The app’s intuitive software is easy to use solely as a chat vessel, but there are many other features as users dig in. Hashtags let everyone easily target a specific channel, and the @ symbol can notify any particular user or group, so everyone is alerted.
Slack even features a phone call and video chat function amplifying its efficiency on all fronts. The mobile app makes going from chat to voice to video as easy as three taps. This capability puts Slack on the same level as social apps like Facebook Messenger as well as more professional programs like Skype and WebEx.
Where Slack Needs Some Work
Given the popularity of the app, it’s not hard to tell Slack has more pros than cons. For the less tech-savvy user, it can be very daunting. Yes, the app is easy to use, but with so many features and its intuitive add-ons, first impressions make it look busy and cluttered.
The app can also make threads hard to follow. Replies to specific posts can be buried under a mound of separate comments, and channels fill up with unrelated posts quickly. Separating communication into various channels helps to limit the clutter.
How Slack Stacks Up
In terms of ease of use, Slack is on the same level with the most basic of messengers. Simply choose a recipient, type your message, and hit send. It doesn’t get easier.
In terms of features, Slack is miles ahead of any business messenger apps. The capabilities rival (if not surpass) social media systems with respect to add-ons, mobility, and access. The ability to create channels and limit/organize communication is another high-level feature not seen in other communication apps.
From the Fortune 500 to Fantasy Football leagues, Slack is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of online communication. Users all over the world can connect with a simple invitation. If you’re a frequent user, you’ll start hearing clacking sound in your sleep, but at least you know you’re in excellent communication with everyone else. This Slack overview is here to get your feet wet. We have all kinds of good stuff coming in the future.