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First, they programmed Slack so that “anytime I said anything, it came out as a GIF,” Thomas says.
Last year blogger Beejoli Shah started to notice a curious new artifact populating her social media feeds: screenshots of office chats, mostly taking place in an upstart workplace communication tool called Slack.
At first Shah failed to see the appeal of sharing a few lines of water cooler conversation among co-workers that, more times than not, appeared basically unintelligible to outsiders.
”) It’s only recently that millennials have climbed far enough up the corporate ladder to begin to exert influence over the culture of their offices, but once they did, a communications shake-up was inevitable: A 2012 Pew study found that only 6 percent of teenagers email every day, while 63 percent text daily.
“Slack just nailed the user interface at the exact moment when people were finally like, , he sent his first Slack to me at p.m., and I lasted exactly three hours and 32 minutes before I used the chat to gossip about a mutual acquaintance.
It used to be that the mark of a “fun” office was a foosball table crammed into the break room.
But Slack makes the workspace itself feel like a game.Each of her new colleagues is fitted with a little green dot that says: Slack founder Stewart Butterfield tells me that his “background in game development really helped in designing Slack”—the company started as an internal messaging system for developers of Butterfield’s now-shuttered video game project —because whether you’re trying to coax users into an immersive online gaming world or immerse them in their job, “you have so little time to attract their attention,” he says.“Every little thing counts.” And Slack is loaded with little things., have created little emoji of each other’s faces that they use to further develop their lovingly antagonistic office relationship: Goldman drops a P. face in Slack to try to get his attention; Vogt inserts the Alex face to signify “bad news.” favors a custom emoji of Outward editor Bryan Lowder with a toboggan Photoshopped onto his head; when editors drop into a private group to workshop headlines, they announce their presence with a taco emoji.When my friend Thomas, a 28-year-old designer, started work at a tech startup in San Francisco, he found that the office had customized its Slack to execute an elaborate hazing ritual.But soon she found herself mesmerized by the look and feel of Slack.As the Slackbrags mounted, Shah, an associate editor at the , campaigned for her co-workers to get on Slack “solely out of jealousy,” Shah says.Which, I fear, is why you want to interview me,” he emailed when I asked to talk.“Shame on you for mocking an old man in your article!“There was a definite sense of missing out not being on Slack. Slack itself has become a character.” Even pockets of the State Department are now on Slack. Take a tour of Slack on the company’s website, and you’ll learn about all the ways it can make your office communication more effective: Slack syncs seamlessly across devices, features a powerful internal search engine, and is highly compatible with dozens of other programs that keep businesses running.But Slack’s truly innovative offering goes unlisted: It is a cool office culture, available for instant download.