Why, on balance, I don’t use Slack

Someone asked me if I knew where the Slack was for such-and-so project. I said I didn’t know, but that I knew one did exist. I felt compelled to explain that I walked away from Slack entirely, but I couldn’t explain why succinctly. Next time this happens I can just link here. :)


What’s wrong with real-time chat?

I believe attention is one of your most precious resources. If something else controls my attention, that something else controls what I’m capable of. I also believe your full attention is required to do great work. So when something like a pile of group chats, and the expectations that come along with them, systematically steals that resource from me, I consider it a potential enemy. “Right now” is a resource worth conserving, not wasting.

~ Jason Fried from, https://m.signalvnoise.com/is-group-chat-making-you-sweat/

Slack is a stream of real-time communication. I don’t work that way. Yes, one can tune and configure just how/when/how-much the Stream from Slack interrupts and notifies you. But I prefer zero unexpected interruptions.

Here are three articles against Slack:

Productivity is best achieved through focus and flow, and anything that takes you away from your focus goes against productivity. So, Slack — which is built as an internal, real-time, “always on,” multi-channel system with notifications — is distracting by design.

~ Dvir Ben-Aroya from, https://medium.com/swlh/why-slack-will-never-replace-email-873a20856716

…in your 20’s you work by brute force, in your 30’s you find ways to work more efficiently, in your 40’s you see the horizon and think on more of a magnitude scale.

~ Kiki Jewell from, https://medium.com/@kikiorgg/why-slack-sucks-for-older-people-and-young-people-have-something-to-learn-8866a25e9951

With Slack I can either be there, being pinged regularly with company wide updates, updates for a channel that was relevant three hours ago but not now, questions from other users they could otherwise figure out but decide are easier to ask me; or select Do Not Disturb mode.

~ Christopher Batts from, https://medium.com/@chrisjbatts/actually-slack-really-sucks-625802f1420a

…and to be fair, one talking about some situations where it might be useful:

At one extreme are interruptions where your attention is demanded on the spot. These sorts of interruptions include a phone call or someone walking into your office. At the other extreme are interruptions that occur only on your time, email for example. Ideally all communication would occur over email (and not just to limit interruptions), but we do not live in an ideal world.

Slack and other similar tools fill the space between someone standing in your office and email.

~ Michael Atwood from, https://medium.com/@mdatwood/slack-does-not-suck-ea166d8a2fb1

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