Slack, first released in 2013, has essentially ushered employer-sanctioned social media into the workplace.At some point over the last year, it started to feel, at least in a certain kind of office, as ubiquitous as those other social-media giants.Open Slack, and it greets you with a friendly message as it loads: “Be cool. The day just got better.” Or: “Always get plenty of sleep, if you can.” (They’re all signed from “your friends at Slack.”) The left side of the screen lists your contacts and group “channels,” with green lights to indicate whether users are active and pink badges to mark unread messages.Star the people you talk to most and they’ll stay at the top of your list, or search for any other employee by name and start a new conversation.These functions aren’t so different from those of previous chat apps, but Slack makes them look good (a friendly interface) and run better (speedy, reliable, with a strong search function).All of this has earned Slack word-of-mouth enthusiasm, not something generally associated with workplace software.
Channels are sometimes devoted to hobbies or snacks, but the overall idea is to improve workplace collaboration and communication.Laura works in ad sales at a well-known tech company.Her office uses Slack, which is likely either as integral to your workday as email or you have never heard of it before.What happens when we bring our digital selves to work? Valued at .8 billion last year, Slack claims 5 million daily active users across workplaces that include 21st Century Fox, Dow Jones, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.Slack was not the first company to offer workplace chat and instant messaging: Before Slack, there was Campfire; there was Hip Chat. Slack comes in a free version with limited storage and features but also offers several tiers of expanded plans, priced per active user.