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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.
Like Facebook or Twitter, Slack induces the same anxious, attention-hungry rhythm in its users, the same need to endlessly refresh, and gives off the same illusion of intimacy in an ultimately public space.
It also makes the line between work and not-work blurrier than ever — the constant scroll of maybe-relevant chatter in your chosen Slack channels registers at times like the background noise of any other newsfeed.
In which case, some explanation: Slack is a workplace messaging app that lets co-workers easily carry on an assortment of group and individual conversations, some private and some public, all organized in a simple user interface; it’s chattier than sending an email, less of a hassle than scheduling a meeting.
It’s also easy to use on your phone — not so different from sending a text — and perhaps because of that ease, or because of the bright Silicon Valley affect it shares with services like Facebook and Instagram (Slack’s headquarters are in San Francisco), it tends to foster a dashed-off, emoji-laced vernacular. Such was the case in Laura’s office, where the salespeople, who are generally more senior, use Slack less than the account managers, who are generally more junior.
What happens when we bring our digital selves to work? Valued at .8 billion last year, Slack claims 5 million daily active users across workplaces that include 21st Century Fox, Dow Jones, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Her office uses Slack, which is likely either as integral to your workday as email or you have never heard of it before.Originally, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield set out to design games.In 2002, he began work on Game Neverending, an online fantasy video game in which it was impossible for players to win or lose — that project failed, but some of its code gave rise to Flickr.His efforts toward a second endless game, this time called Glitch, yielded Slack; it grew out of the chat application the Glitch team used internally.On Slack, work presents as a quasi-social game that you want to keep playing.