Lots of y’all are using Slack instead of email. This is stupid.
Email & Basecamp are the best tools for asynchronous, grouped messaging. 99% of the messages I send fit this description. (I use Basecamp for project management.)
But sometimes we need someone’s immediate attention. That’s when we use Slack.
- Slack = Emergency!
- Email = Get back to me on your time.
I don’t think there is anything in between in my biz: It either needs my immediate attention (Slack), or it can wait until I get to it (Email).
The most annoying thing to me is when a teammate pings me in Slack when it would be better-suited to an email.
The science is conclusive.
When a developer is interrupted, it costs you productivity/money.
Interruptions hurt craftspeople & artists the most – the very people who do the profitable work of your business.
Gmail is more organized than Slack, no matter what their marketing people tell you.
Slack introduced threaded comments to address this problem a while back, and all it does is make the problems with Slack more pronounced!
I have so far refused to join my customers’ Slack channels, because I know that Slack channels are a clusterf*@% and have an inverse relationship to productivity. (i.e. the more I’m in their Slack channel, the less work gets done.)
Instead, I tell customers to use email or use my 911 Website Emergency form.
It’s funny that Slack’s marketing campaigns say something like, “Be more productive with Slack!” when that’s the opposite of what usually happens when people us it.
The best advice I can give you is to treat Slack like a phone call.
Like a phone call, Slack says, “Drop what you’re doing! We need to talk right now!”
If you wouldn’t call someone, then you shouldn’t burden someone with a Slack message.
So either use Slack more intentionally to tidy up your freelancing business or dump it entirely.
Additional Reading: https://m.signalvnoise.com/is-group-chat-making-you-sweat-744659addf7d
Originally published Jan. 2, 2018.
Updated Aug. 17, 2018.