Slack has become how many teams communicate internally. In essence, select is an old-school instant messaging platform that has existed from IRC days. What makes slack so powerful is its integrations with other services. Almost all popular services integrate with Slack with a click of a button.
I wanted to talk about a few different angles I utilize slack in my personal and team accounts.
Talk to humans
Slack is the centerpiece on our remote/distributed team on multiple timezones and multiple cities/countries/continents because communication is the centerpiece on remote teams and slack is doing a great job to give a plain tool to communicate. Of course, it’s not the only tool we use to communicate but it’s the most frequent one.
Speaking of communication, communication is not exclusive to humans in our scenario. We also communicate with bots, servers, services, tools, etc… Fortunately, big names (Google, Trello etc) is already nicely integrated with Slack. So we use their apps/bots to talk or listen to them on slack. In some cases, we use slack as our source to talk to these services.
Listen to no-human activity without getting distracted from your slack routine
Slack can be a great “monitoring” platform for keeping eye on things (everything) from a single point of view. This makes slack different than a just chatting app. You can set up pretty much any “notification sending” tool/app to send these notifications on slack. Things like your website’s uptime status, order tracking, new tweets/IG photos/daily news, new blog posts from your favorite blogger… Anything that can be received as email can be set up be redirected to a slack notification in your own categorization skills.
Even “Track Who Goes To Space With IFTTT“ which I talked about it before. The way I was tracking on a slack channel too.
There is also a great article written in Smashing Magazine about using using slack to monitor your app that exhibits this use case well.
Make non-humans to listen you through slack – run your stuff / take actions
We do this all the time without slack. Thing like opening your calendar app and creating new event/reminder/meeting and invite others. Or open amazon app and buy stuff. Go to Trello and create a task to yourself or your team member. Or share a dropbox file. We do these things on our devices with manual steps, using each service’s apps/tools or tools that are designed for that purposes.
But slack brings standardization to these things. A single interface to make these happen with making bots listen to you and do these stuff for you. Some of these “actions” are given in plain English (or your language) or in most cases, though slack’s rich message features like buttons or slash commands. Few things we did and doing regularly on our team: like creating meetings with meekan (scheduling bot) or create Trello cards from slack while we discuss something with the team without getting distracted to open Trello and create cards.
There are many other cases we use slack to “take actions” within slack. The beauty of this is you can make slack very smart with bots that trigger things to services you use through bots. Also extendable that we can write bots to do things that are not provided with existing bots and services or custom stuff. Or even write bots for new things we create.