January 23, 2015
Slack is taking over my social life. This morning, when I woke up, I rooted around under my pillow for my phone. While in the past I would have checked my e-mail first, or my Twitter mentions, the first thing I did was check Slack.
Slack is the year-old workplace messaging app that everyone is talking about. A person creates a chatroom with multiple “Channels” with topics for different threads of a conversation, and then invites their coworkers to join via their e-mail address. The rooms are secure, the messages are archived and searchable, and corporations can pay for e-mail authentication for additional privacy.
I belong to five Slacks, and none of them is for work, though I tell myself I’m networking. Some of the Slacks are public, two are private, and one is secret. I don’t know how many channels I follow, but I’ve been invited to secret channels within every Slack. And I engage in private conversations about things that go on in main channels, like a gossipy 14-year-old.
Slack isn’t just for work anymore; the dynamic is changing. While Slack launched in February of last year as a workplace communication tool, often for remote teams, Slacks have begun to crop up revolving around topics and communities.
Possibly the most famous of the Slacks is #startup (pronounced ‘hashtag startup’), which is a closed group with a 20 Euro fee that accepts new applicants on a rolling basis.
Other cool Slacks include: #Nomad for people traveling on a digital lifestyle, iOS Developer for those frustrated with Swift, and Android Developer for the type of programmer who paid the original price for Xbox One.
But there are also myriad secret Slacks. Like the now-passé secret groups of Facebook, these are kept relatively quiet; many members don’t even appreciate acknowledgement they exist, let alone mention of being a member. One of my secret groups is for movers and shakers in the startup world, another I’m prohibited from talking about entirely.
If you’re looking to get into a secret chat, I’d recommend spending some extra time blogging, posting content to HackerNews, Quora, Reddit, and especially Twitter, all of which feed into these groups.
Or, if you’re so inclined, start your own. Slack is free for basic users, so unless you want to start moderating your group heavily or archiving every message, you won’t have to pay the $6.67/person fee. Go forth, and be a Slacker.
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