Just when you thought it was safe to go into group messaging again, just when remote work seemingly guaranteed Slack a permanent fixture on the internet, just when Salesforce threw their weight and $27.7 billion dollars at Slack, now seems like the perfect time to reflect upon Slack and if it really is the savior of digital workplace communication.
Email is the all-time champion, and even today, would beat up Slack in the ring. After all, email has superpowers that Slack can only dream about.
I don't want to bash Slack. This site is about the beauty and wonder of email. This isn't a hate site. But some critical objections to Slack will be made. Maybe Slack can become better as a result of it. And much of the criticism of Slack applies also to Microsoft Teams and similar tools.
Salesforce is going to significantly improve Slack in the coming few years, certainly embedding Slack's tech stack deeper into the Salesforce workflow. We are already seeing small hints at this.
For everyone else outside the Salesforce world, there are great Slack alternatives for companies looking for group instant messaging, but not convinced that the juggernaut of Slack is the right choice.
A strong argument could be made for an email only workplace; I'll detail this soon.
The helpful articles below detail the pains, troubles, toil, and unproductive nature of a Slack-enabled workplace. I'll update this list, so bookmark it and send it to your CEO/CTO before they force their Slack lifestyle upon you and your colleagues.
If you're already stuck with Slack at work, these articles might help you find solace in your misery. Maybe they can at least push back on the idea that Slack is the primary place where communication takes place.
Fair warning. Some of these are written by competitors of Slack, but they make many valid points so I've included them.
Group Chat: The Best Way to Totally Stress Out Your Team
The perils of the modern communications conveyor belt that never ends, divides your attention, fractures your time, and chains you to FOMO.
Slack is not asynchronous (and what to do about it) — Friday App
Chat at work is killing my productivity.
My favorite part of this article is its strong contrast between working via Slack and working via email. The author even says "I miss email" and the URL for this article is "The death of email has been greatly exaggerated". Hear, hear!
The productivity pit: how Slack is ruining work
Job software like Teams, Slack, and Workplace were supposed to make us more productive. They haven't.
Slack Is the Right Tool for the Wrong Way to Work — by Cal Newport writing for The New Yorker.
My Company Tried Slack For Two Years. This Is Why We Quit. — by Amir Salihefendic, founder and CEO of Doist, makers of Twist, a Slack competitor.
This remote company decided real-time communication was holding it back. So it built a new tool from the ground up.
How Slack Harms Projects — by Silas Reinagel.
Sorry, we can't join your Slack
When we stopped using Slack — by Richard Shepherd, who helped create Memo, a Slack alternative.
Slack Is a Hell of Our Own Making
Why a Slack Backlash Is Inevitable
You should use forums rather than Slack/Discord to support developer community
New and Improved Updates to Slack — a comedy piece by McSweeney's; use for stress relief if forced to use Slack.