Top 10 for Slackers

Hello everyone! The Slack messaging and collaboration application is gaining momentum. The CKM introduced Slack to the Library in the Fall, and since then membership has grow to over 40 Library users, most of whom are actively engaged and posting to their respective teams and channels. Some users are now collaborating via Slack with other UCSF departments outside of the Library, and even beyond that with colleagues at other UCs.

I was very skeptical of the idea at first. I thought, why introduce yet another potential distraction to my day, which was already overfilled by email, instant messages and meetings? How could this possibly be a good thing?! And the answer is; because it’s easy to use, accessible, non-intrusive (if used properly), and most importantly, Slack encourages idea sharing and transparency. I now spend less time on email, virtually no time on instant messaging, and in general, I feel better informed.

slack application windows

Let’s return to the “(if used properly)” note from above. This is the very important, because it can seem like a burden to keep track of all the posts in Slack, and new channels can be created at any time. Slack is a tool that should enhance, not complicate your workflow. With that in mind, and drawing on my own personal struggles and successes with collaboration methods here at UCSF, I’ve created a top-10 list of guidelines for becoming a master slacker. I look forward to the conversations that will follow!

  1. Create and publish guidelines within your group about the best use of Slack.
  2. If you need an immediate response from someone on an important issue, call or visit them in person, instead of using Slack.
  3. If you want to make sure someone sees a post, “at-mention” them (i.e. @seanmcclelland), to ensure they receive a notification.
  4. Use Slack to share ideas, collaborate, and update your colleagues on current projects.
  5. Transfer important, archive-worthy information into the Wiki.
  6. Transfer customer support questions out of Slack, and into Zendesk.
  7. “Mute” channels that you are not directly related to your job function (open channel > channel setting icon > mute).
  8. Be polite, courteous and professional, even in direct messages. Nothing in Slack is 100% private.
  9. If you are a daily user, try the Slack desktop and mobile apps for more convenient access.
  10. Search for and join other public Slack channels to connect with colleagues at other UCs and beyond.

We are collecting notes and tips about Slack in the Wiki:

Useful tips from the official Slack blog:

1 thought on “Top 10 for Slackers”

  1. I am glad you mentioned that you feel better informed. It’s true – now that Slack is being used for a wide range of projects/activities at the Library, it makes it easy to keep up on things I care about, but am not as directly involved in, e.g. Library website and the Summon pilot.

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