Aug 29, 2019
Today we have such a detailed episode for you, that we’ve had to split it into two, for practical distribution reasons.
This is part one of two
These shownotes for both episodes are available at http://virtualnotdistant.com/podcasts/collaboration-dangers) -because it really is just one big conversation
A truly 21st Century work-life phenomenon, it’s time to talk about the tools we use every day. It’s time to talk about ‘chat’ - whether you use Slack, MSTeams, Twist, or other more project-management based tools which also include the ongoing conversation that ties the whole work process together.
Slack was one of the first truly built for business, rather than repurposing consumer tools like MSN messenger and Skype (which was a consumer tool at first, and now Skype for Business is being subsumed into MSTeams).
We enjoyed this paper about How scientists use Slack, which demonstrated the versatility of it and how different types of workers can shape it to their own needs, from conversation to creation. Collaborating on a research paper with international colleagues is a great example of time-agnostic asynchronous remote work.
They also use the reminders tool - and we didn’t know you could set reminders for other people. Very interesting! And there’s a subtle difference when an app asks or reminds people about something, rather than a colleague…
Interesting too how tools like Slack are being used at an organisational level, with hundreds or sometimes thousands of users - requiring very different moderation and interaction approaches, and potential new challenges, and leading Slack to introduce new admin tools for professional users. We’d rather see team agreements and consensus, than controls - but perhaps with scale it’s becoming inevitable.
So these tools are becoming multipurpose communications hubs, not always real-time chat - channels can become discussion forums, co-creation spaces, announcement channels and so on. And as we’re always saying, asynchronous conversation rocks!
Our friends at Buffer experimented with turning Slack off altogether - Slack-off Fridays: What Happened When One Team Experienced a Day Without Slack - there are many other ways to do visible teamwork effectively.
The use of the word chat (or instant messaging, from which these tools evolved) frustratingly suggests an instantaneous response. So we need a new collective noun. What shall we call them? Does “collaboration platforms” work? “Digital hubs”? Where we live and do our work online needs a better name, so please let us know what you think!
Don't forget to continue to download and enjoy part two of this conversation next...