Two years ago, we began using Slack, then a young and promising enterprise messaging service. Two years and several hundred thousand messages later, we have no doubt that we did the right thing. From internal enterprise communications based on e-mail and chat on Gmail, we have switched to using Slack almost exclusively, a trend that has picked up speed now with the launching of the service’s voice calls feature.
Slack recently passed the three million regular users milestone, one million of whom are paying users. Since the number of teams using it is also gradually rising in Israel, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to tell you about several of our favorite features in Slack.
#1 – Stars in your eyes
Next to every message, channel, or file you post or send, you will see an empty star. It was not put there just to look pretty. As soon as it is “starred” that message or file will be added to the list of your stars. At any moment, you can click on the star sign at the head of the channel and get rapid access to all your important messages and files. If you want to, you can also make the star a list of your tasks, and remove the sign as soon as the task is completed.
#2 – Search
Slack has a powerful and fast search engine, and if used wisely, you can find messages, other users, or files quickly. For example, you can search certain channels with the in:#channel trigger, or a specific user with from:user, and so forth. Your search will obviously be more efficient if you use the “+” symbol, and restrict the search results as much as possible.
#3 – Undisturbed work
Slack has an effective “Do Not Disturb” system that enables every member of a group to work (or sleep, if you have to fit that in somewhere) without receiving notifications. Of course, the messages still arrive, but they will be available to the user when he enters Slack, and will not be urgent. You can plan definitions for the Do Not Disturb mode in advance; for example, you can decide that from 8 pm to 6 am, you do not want to receive notifications. A team member sending you a message at this time will receive a message informing him that you are in Do Not Disturb mode, and asking him whether he nevertheless wants to send you notification. If something really urgent is involved, he can mark this on the message, so that you will receive the message. Incidentally, Slack is smart enough to make time adjustments, so that if you send a message at noon your time, and the other person is now in San Francisco, Slack will notify you that the member is in a different time zone with Do Not Disturb mode. The mode can be operated manually, if you need to concentrate for an hour in the middle of the day – just click on the notification button (the bell icon) and select the duration.
Well, there is no doubt that this is the most popular integration in the system for us. Integration with Giphy enables you to send memos and responses based on the large Giphys website, directly from Slack. Just use the giphy/ trigger, and add the response or message you want to write, and the system will retrieve an appropriate random GIF from the website’s enormous database.
#5 A rapid private message
If you are in one channel, and you want to send a private message to another team member, you can do it directly, without leaving the channel. Just enter the msg/ trigger, the member’s name, and the message, which will be sent to them immediately, continuing your chat.
#6 Zen and wise saying while loading
While the service is being loaded, Slack displays a random message with all sorts of wise sayings and worn-out clichés. If you want, you can add your own pearls of wisdom. In order to make these adjustments, click on the following link:
#7 Key words
As a default option, Slack will send you notification when a group member sends you a message or tags you. Sometimes, however, it is important to you to remain in the loop, and to receive notification when you are discussing a certain matter. Slack enables you to define a number of key words. Whenever these words are mentioned, you will receive notification, and the words will appear highlighted in the channel. In order to do this, select Team Menu > Preferences > Notifications, and type in all the key words you want.
Do you have other tips for Slack? Be our friend, and send them to us in your responses.