tl;dr I use #slack as a chat room and it’s useful.
To be truthful, I don’t really want to kill email. I still quite like it for many purposes.
A lot of the time, however, it’s just not the right tool. Twitter and text messages are better for short spurts of communication but they are too public and too private respectively. The phone is too synchronously demanding. Walking over also has its place but showing up out of the blue is disruptive and a bit rude.
Then in February, along came #slack, set up by Matt as an experiment to fill the gap between email and phone. It’s even helped coordinate our walking and chatting time so that we can finish up what we’re working on before going for a coffee or working through a problem on the whiteboard.
@giuliaforsythe intrigued. do you have (could you make) a screencast of how _you_ use it? any concerns about US hosting/privacy?
— Scott Leslie (@sleslie) June 11, 2014
Sure thing, Scott. Here’s my screen recording thingy.
Yesterday we convinced the other 3 people in our department to start using #slack. They work in the main CPI office space which is a totally different building than the four of us. In order to receive our physical mail, we have to walk over, which is usually preceded by a phone call from Wanda. A perfect use for #slack.
To answer the slippery question about privacy (which I’m not really well equipped to address), I don’t think Ontario has the same privacy legislation as BC. Or more accurately, I don’t think educational institutions interpret the legislation as strictly as BC does. The use of US servers and the fear of the Patriot Act are definitely factors for consideration for institution-wide adoptions, but no one cites the legislation but rather our moral and ethical role in defending academic freedom of our students and faculty.
Frankly, I’m just as concerned about the erosion of our personal privacy by our very own government as the US, so I’m not really convinced implementing a Canadian server solution would solve anything. Perhaps running a local install of a similar tool would be the perfect solution but I don’t know if that exists yet. (Let me know if it does!)
UPDATE: apparently this tool is not so great for those who lack attention to detail.
ahem, I seemed to miss this part of the conversation. I’ve updated the link so we get referrals now (whatever that does…?)
Giulia, thanks so much for this, it is really helpful to have this as I try to persuade my own teams to try different options to address our own communication challenges. Cheers, Scott
Do you know of examples where this has been used to coordinate student projects? Is it functionally different than for instance Facebook or some other common platform?