I have mixed feelings about Slack. Its good but I worry about the deadend nature of it. A clear sign of this is IFTTT’s recipes involving Slack. Every single recipe has Slack as the output (action), not a single one has Slack at the input (trigger).
This is the notion of the roach motel or walled garden, right?
Little worrying that everything goes into slack but nothing leaves?
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) July 10, 2016
I have been looking at alternatives; before anybody starts; YES I know IRC, yes I have used IRC in the past and more recently. I get it but I always find it not a great environment, especially for modern work, due to the obscure never-changing syntax and behaviors. I also know people who use slack via IRC and I have tried using Slack with a Jabber/XMPP client but its painful for anything but talking to individual people I found.
I looking at others and found…
- Mattermost, which I know Mozilla use and acts a lot like Slack.
- Hipchat which ties into the 37 signals suite of tools, not so keen on this one.
- Matrix which uses WebRTC and looks pretty powerful.
- Of course there’s plenty more…
But recently someone suggested trying Telegram groups and channels. Then using existing tools like Trello, Google Docs, etc.. for permanence? This may run back to the small pieces loosly joined way of working, which isn’t so attractive. But allows for diversity of uses, clients and services. Dare I say something to think about when thinking work 2.0?
Part of my worry is slack trying to be the end point for everything. Its seductive and easy like Facebook is, but scratch one of the sides and you find the walls are more concrete than expected. Yes there are permalinks, bots and markdown content but it feels very hidden?