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Open Slack, and it greets you with a friendly message as it loads: “Be cool. The day just got better.” Or: “Always get plenty of sleep, if you can.” (They’re all signed from “your friends at Slack.”) The left side of the screen lists your contacts and group “channels,” with green lights to indicate whether users are active and pink badges to mark unread messages.
Star the people you talk to most and they’ll stay at the top of your list, or search for any other employee by name and start a new conversation.
Laura works in ad sales at a well-known tech company.
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.
For better or worse, it makes work life more like digital life, albeit a digital life where you can also smell what everyone else is eating for lunch.
The question is, what does this intrusion do to the delicate diplomacy of office life?
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.