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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.
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.
“It was eight account managers, and it was pretty much dedicated to just bashing everybody in sales, from the top, top people, all the way down.” Within two hours, word had spread to the entire sales team, which spent a Friday afternoon reading the channel’s history start to finish.
“There was some borderline racist stuff,” she remembers.
Laura works in ad sales at a well-known tech company.
Her office uses Slack, which is likely either as integral to your workday as email or you have never heard of it before.
Its default color scheme is that of a ’90s mall or movie theater (purple, pink, teal), and if you announce that you’ve completed a task, colleagues can respond with a chorus of custom emoji.