December 2, 2015
Slack is marketed as “a messaging app for teams,” and promises to deliver “team communication for the 21st century.” It’s not the first online collaboration app, but it sure as hell is a standout. Aside from providing instant, collaborative communication via channels, private channels, and direct messages, Slack also allows users to share files, search archives, set notifications, etc. It’s the perfect asset for the open office.
Functionality aside, Slack just sort of seems fun. I mean, I wanted in the first time I saw this billboard, and I didn’t even know what Slack was at the time. It’s when I saw this billboard that I KNEW we needed Slack at Fast Horse. Needless to say, I was stoked to find out that plans to adopt Slack at the office were already well under way. On January 28, 2016, I was no longer a Pony, but rather, I became a pink pony giving a ride to a young professional in the clouds with a beautiful, bubbly rainbow and cheeky stars not too far off in the background.
I can only assume I’ll find more and more ways to apply Slack’s functionality as I continue to familiarize, but following are a few features that I’ve already found incredibly useful:
Slack’s reminder feature is pretty great. If you have an important meeting, deadline or call that you don’t want to forget, simply type the following into any stream.
/remind [someone or #channel] [text] [some description of time]
Perhaps more useful for those working in MInneapolis’ North Loop:
Not only can you set personal reminders, but you can also schedule them for coworkers and team channels.
If you’d like to see a list of your reminders, use /remind list. Slackbot will then show you your scheduled reminders and provide a listing of reminder IDs.
If for whatever reason you want to cancel a reminder, simply use /remind cancel [ID].
Slack already has a pretty useful alert system in its preferences, but you can take alerts a step further by taking advantage of triggers or highlight words.
Let’s say you want to receive notification anyone in one of your #channels mentions “free lunch.” Simply go to
You –> Preferences –> Notifications –> Notification Settings –> Highlight Words
From there, enter the word (or words) you’d like to receive notifications for. In this case, never miss the mention of free lunch again!
Let’s be honest: There are a lot of conversations going on in Slack, and sometimes information can get lost. Not only can you use the search feature to find past conversations or documents, but you can also strengthen your search using search modifiers.
One of Slack’s greatest features, in my opinion, is the ability to add reaction emojis. These are important for a variety of reasons, but mostly as a form acknowledgement – a way to recognize coworkers’ contributions in a nonverbal manner. This is especially pertinent within group forums because, let’s face it, it’s not always easy tossing your hat in the ring, even digitally.