What kind of Slack user are you?
4th April 2019
Have you found yourself tinkling the ivories of a desktop in a more forward-thinking business during the last few years?
Or maybe you’re a remote-working nomad dipping in and out of various tech start-ups? Either way you’ll no doubt have spent a great deal of time working at the coalface of Slack, mining for solid gold productivity.
You will have nodded as someone patiently explained that Slack is ‘a cross between a notice board, WhatsApp and a fan forum, dedicated exclusively to this job.’ And before you realise, you will have lost working days, months, years to Slack, because Slack feels like work, and technically often is work, but also simultaneously feels like it’s not work. It’s basically a perpetually full inbox, but also, somehow, inexplicably, fun? A real Schrodinger’s Cat.
Slack has put email to the sword, taken the chit-chat of the office into the realm of the digital, and extended a virtual cubicle into the the homes and bedrooms of the flexi-worker.
It’s also shaped some archetypal characters you’ll find clogging up or bossing the channels of Slack groups across the land. It’s time to check whether you’re one of them…
The Constant Banterer
To this person, banter is something sacred, a pursuit that takes precedence over professionalism, and they commit to archiving all instances of it here with monastic diligence.
Every single detail of post-work drinks, away days and their weekend’s misadventures, every obscure meme unearthed from the bowels of Reddit, every single HR-baiting round-robin joke sent to their ‘top mates’ WhatsApp – it’s all here, accessible with a few clicks to anyone in the entire company, which will lead to their inevitable downfall by a thousand disciplinaries.
Typical message: Immediately responding to someone announcing that, with regret, they’ll be leaving at the end of the month with a .jpg of David Brent in an ostrich costume.
Overzealous Channel Starter
In reality, any given workplace needs like, three Slack channels, tops. One for actually discussing work, one for idle chit-chat and one for really urgent stuff – the servers are down, an emergency all-staffer has been called, all the smoke detectors have stopped working and a fire’s broken out, etc.
This person doesn’t care for such confines though. Fuelled by admin power, they embark on a quest to compartmentalise every possible facet of work-life – from the fantasy football league to the tea-round, the big project to the kitchen tidy-up – into more channels than it’s possible for modern computers to handle.
Typical message: “Hi everyone, welcome to #MondayMotiGREAT! This is nominally different from #MondayMotivation, because this is for posting motivational quotes that are, quite simply, great! Also not to be used for #TuesdayInspo or #GoodVibesFriday…”
The LinkedIn Aggregator
There is something innately sweet about this sort of Slack user. They’ve just watched a video or read an article on how to ‘streamline your mind-sphere’ or ‘revolutionise your conference calls’ and – feeling inexplicably inspired by vanilla business-speak – want to share the feeling with their peers. Or else they want to show the rest of the team up. Nobody has ever clicked anything they’ve sent.
Typical message: “Wow! Check this out! [Link to article headlined ‘Rethink Your Attitude To Client Meetings: Optimise Your Trousers By Wearing A Belt To Stop Them Falling Down.’]
The Late Adopter
The least tech-literate person in the office, the one who received the news that the office was setting up a Slack workspace by curmudgeonly grumbling “I don’t see why we need yet another thing” to no-one in particular, having only just got the hang of replying to emails instead of sending them all to the printer.
Typical message: An incomprehensible stream of nonsense that only makes sense once you realise they’ve confused Slack with a search engine.
The Late Responder
Sort of similar to above, in that this user is not quite au fait with the software, regularly leading to them attempting to respond to a deluge of posts they missed when they were originally posted, two days ago.
Typical message: “haha!” – intended to be a reaction to an amusing Brexit observation, but instead unfortunately coming directly after a colleague asking for donations for a half marathon they’re doing in aid of a charity close to their heart.
The Over GIF-er
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and given that GIFs are comprised of a sequence of pictures, it’s not unreasonable to consider them a fairly efficient means of communication. But when they’re your only response, regardless of circumstance, in the place where you work with other fully grown adults, it might be time to occasionally reintroduce a couple thousand words.
Typical message: Dropping a RyanReynoldsFacePalm.gif after the Big Boss soberly makes everyone aware that revenues are down for the third quarter.
This person knows the true power of Slack. It’s an incredibly communication tool, sure, but it’s also the place where you can witness office politik play out in real time interactions.
These savvy operators keep their distance, observing not contributing, quietly collecting a folder of screenshots that will become a veritable arsenal of ammunition when it comes to their promotion meeting.
Typical message: Radio silence. They keep it in the DMs, exclusively.