By Cecilia Klauber
Have you heard colleagues talk about using Slack to stay organized? Or maybe a team member for a group project suggested Slack instead of GroupMe or Google Hangouts for team collaboration? Maybe you joined the GradSWE WE18 channel or use Slack already but don’t know much about the platform and how to get the most out of it. Keep reading to learn the basics of Slack and be sure to join the SWE Grad Community at swegradcommunity.slack.com!
What is Slack?
Slack is a set of team collaboration tools. Slack is cloud based and has only been around for a few years, but has quickly become popular among teams in industry, academia, and in the classroom, with over 8 million daily users as of May 2018. Slack communities organized around common interests exist, in addition to the logistical and organizational ones.
Slack consists of channels, which are like chat rooms, organized by topic or theme, as well as features that allow private and group messaging. In Slack, all content is searchable. This includes files, conversations and people. Can’t remember who said they would email the professor about when your group would present or who was bringing cups to your lab’s holiday party? Search for it!
My favorite feature of Slack is that you can add emojis to messages! Users can click to express their reactions to posts and responses.
Slack integrates well with Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, Workday and so many more services.
Did You Know?
Slack is an acronym for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge
How do I Slack?
First, join a community and subscribe to your channels of interest.
You can access Slack from a web interface, but I would recommend downloading the desktop version and/or mobile application.
Learn how to tag people and topics: use the @ and # symbols to tag people and topics, respectively.
Want to save something for later? Star the item to save it for later; find it again by going to your side pane and selecting Starred Items.
Join the SWE Grad Community Slack!
When setting up your profile, feel free to use a photo or your full name or not! As Slack was originally intended for organizational communication, there is a spot for “Role.” In our community it might be useful to add any SWE leadership role you hold or your home institution; for example, I have “Grad Member Coordinator Elect” listed as my role!
Our goal for the GradSWE Slack channel is for it to be a place where we can discuss blog posts, answer questions about SWE at the societal level, share best practices among GradSWE groups and set up meetups for annual and local conferences!
What other channels should I join?
- When signing up for Slack, you can give your institutional email address to see if there are any institution specific groups you can join. Groups also exist for almost every interest under the sun, from entrepreneurship to machine learning, teaching to gardening!
- A few other grad student interest specific groups: gradstudentslack and gradwriteslackgradwriteslack
- Some research groups use it in place of/in addition to email, consider using it with your collaborators, undergraduate researchers, or on your next class project
- Be professional and respectful
- Learn how to set up Do Not Disturb and Notifications
- Embrace the opportunity for collaboration and community!
How do you currently or hope to use Slack? Share in the comments!