It’s “cool office culture, available for instant download,” Slate declared two years ago, as the phenomenon was taking hold.Or, as Ali Rayl, Slack’s director of customer experience, puts it (in faintly depressing terms), Slack allows users to “create the human connection without the human overhead.” Slack’s work chat is the consummation of the open-plan-office dream — an unstructured space where you can share, collaborate, and see what everyone else is working on.One day last summer, a saleswoman was looking for a conversation she’d had with an account manager, so she typed her own name in Slack’s search bar.
What happens when we bring our digital selves to work? Valued at $3.8 billion last year, Slack claims 5 million daily active users across workplaces that include 21st Century Fox, Dow Jones, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Slack was not the first company to offer workplace chat and instant messaging: Before Slack, there was Campfire; there was Hip Chat. Slack comes in a free version with limited storage and features but also offers several tiers of expanded plans, priced per active user.
Slack, first released in 2013, has essentially ushered employer-sanctioned social media into the workplace.
At some point over the last year, it started to feel, at least in a certain kind of office, as ubiquitous as those other social-media giants.
And, “people were getting called ‘dumb sluts’ left and right.” At first, as salespeople started reading, the talk continued, but then the account managers noticed who was joining and began to flee.
The fight-or-flight impulse was not particularly useful here: They could make the channel disappear from their own view of Slack, but running away did nothing to delete its history.Like Facebook or Twitter, Slack induces the same anxious, attention-hungry rhythm in its users, the same need to endlessly refresh, and gives off the same illusion of intimacy in an ultimately public space.It also makes the line between work and not-work blurrier than ever — the constant scroll of maybe-relevant chatter in your chosen Slack channels registers at times like the background noise of any other newsfeed.You can drop in and out of chat channels as the day goes on, or, if you’re a member of a particularly active channel, you might spend all day there, reading through the scroll.Channels are sometimes devoted to hobbies or snacks, but the overall idea is to improve workplace collaboration and communication.“But I think people were pretty embarrassed.” Ivanka Trump Is Hard at Work in Washington — But for Whom? What Happens When the Office Becomes a Nonstop Chat Room Inside the Toxic Workplace at Fox News Read More Stories of Working in America on The Job Office gossip is as old as the office.