The Problem With Slack

July 15, 2020

Slack is like being in an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda

Let’s face it group chat is the equivalent of being in an all-day meeting with no agenda. To keep up with what’s going on, you need to be present & attentive all the time which takes your attention away from truly meaningful work.

When we first launched the ScaleMath Pro Community, it started out in Slack. It started as a big idea and as with all my ideas I didn’t hesitate to build something. Slack was the easy way, it’s what everyone was doing and it worked. Driving engagement and building a community by using software that most people already use for work is easy. People already hang out in the app so every now and then they’re more likely to get involved.

But the moment you spend even a day not paying attention (let alone a few hours depending on the size of the community, it becomes impossible to catch up). So instead of relying on a gut feeling that moving away from Slack was the right choice (since porting over accounts to another platform for a seamless transition wouldn’t have been easy), I spend time talking to around 100 members from other paid and free communities that live in Slack.

The #1 concern (by far) was that conversations were always missed.

A lot of communities live in Slack, which inherently makes it really difficult to keep up with stuff. As much as the idea of having a tight-knit Slack Workspace is appealing for any community, we’re all busy running businesses here. Little quirks like the fact that opening a Slack channel marked all messages in that channel as read put people off from doing so and all-round is a communication approach that doesn’t make sense for communities. It might not seem like much, but this on its own made it impossible for someone to answer a single question in a channel and then come back later to look at the others they missed because all of them would have been marked as read at once…literally no conversation gets the attention it deserves like this – depending on the time of day, the number of messages sent in that channel which is not what a community should look like.

The general consensus seems to be that we don’t have time to spend hanging out in Slack all day (apart from your company’s Slack if you use that for internal communication). And the last thing that I wanted a community I build to be is a time-sink that takes your time away from actually running your business (or working) and hitting your goals.

Look at any organisation or community’s Slack and this is what you’ll see…

Even for a community with just 100 early access members keeping conversations organised was a pain for members (due to the constant reminders from me to use threads), it was definitely clear that there needed to be some change.

And, on that note – here are other things you’ll see in any company or community Slack Workspace:

  1. Rambling and repetition
  2. ASAP culture
  3. Mental fatigue
  4. Fear of missing out or not having a say
  5. Short-lived thoughts that are constantly interrupted
  6. Knee-jerk responses
  7. No way of reviewing something and then getting back to it later
  8. Communicating across time-zones is a struggle (because people are shy to message when they’re awake but it’s 1 AM for others)

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