6. The Atlantic: SLACKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
I hate Slack. I’ve always freelanced and didn’t use Slack until grad school. In school, my department used it to communicate and to share resources and information about meetings. It was also one of the most toxic spaces I’ve ever experienced. The channels I was part of went unmoderated, and people were attacked and blackmailed without repercussions.
Meant to increase productivity, “Slack is the cubicle, the boardroom, the hallway, the watercooler, and the bar. It’s where you talk about your performance with your manager, and where you then talk about your manager with your friends. It’s where you flirt; where you joke around; where you complain; where you, in some sense, live,” and it “is more akin to social media than email.” In the app, people can make channels for affinity groups such as employees that are Black, have children, or identify as LGBTQ+. It is a space where “everyone has the same size megaphone, regardless of hierarchy or chain of command. And between the jokes and the special channels and the spontaneity and the freewheeling way of talking to your colleagues—who are also kind of your friends—it encourages a type of personal expression that is new to the American workplace.”
Now, companies are banning certain Slack channels that they find threatening, as its “inherent flatness means that anyone can emerge as a leader. In fact, the most influential person on Slack is almost never the boss,” and it is radically changing office culture and dynamics. I understand why some people like it, but I will never willingly use the app again.