The full text of Glenn Fleishman’s book about how use the Slack group messaging system, released chapter by chapter for TidBITS members. If you’re a member, log in using your TidBITS account (click My Account on the left) to be able to read everything beyond the first chapter. The final book is available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) versions; TidBITS members can save 30% on this and all other Take Control titles (start at your Member Benefits page to get the discount).
If you’re looking for a way for a group — a work team, club, or even family — to stay in touch through Internet messaging, check out Slack and our new book explaining how to use it. We even have a public Slack group you can join to talk about Slack and anything related to Apple.
In this kickoff chapter, Glenn Fleishman provides an overview of the popular Slack messaging service and what sets it apart from previous solutions. He also runs through what readers can expect to see in future chapters of the book.
Your first steps with Slack revolve around being invited to a team and then getting started with the appropriate Slack apps. Along with Slack’s core Web app, the service has native apps for desktop and mobile platforms. Remember, everyone is welcome to join our public SlackBITS group!
Learn the ins and outs of the Slack interface for both desktop and mobile apps in this chapter from Glenn Fleishman’s “Take Control of Slack Basics.”
There’s nothing more to posting a simple message in Slack than typing something witty and hitting Return, but in this chapter you’ll learn how to do things like format messages, add emoji (even custom emoji!), insert images, and link to Web pages. Also covered are message editing and deletion, emoji-based reactions, marking messages for later, and linking to messages in other channels.
In this chapter, Glenn Fleishman explains how you can go beyond simple messages in Slack by uploading file attachments, entering formatted code snippets, creating posts for collaborative editing by your team members, and making voice calls for when text isn’t enough.
You’ve learned everything there is to know about messages, so in this chapter, Glenn Fleishman focuses his attention on where messages go: channels. You’ll learn how to join channels, create channels, invite people to your channels, and a whole lot more.
When you just want to have a quick word with someone or see what sort of food your regular lunch group wants to get, a direct message conversation is often easier than a setting up channel. In this chapter, Glenn Fleishman explains everything you need to know about direct message conversations, which, admittedly, isn’t all that much.
It’s fine to get lots of notifications from Slack in a low-volume team or one where you need to stay up to date on everything that’s happening, but as traffic increases or you need to focus on other tasks, Slack’s notification controls will become increasingly important. Glenn Fleishman explains how Slack thinks about presence and how you can set the notifications to meet your need in this chapter of “Take Control of Slack Basics.”
A messaging system is only as good as its search feature because you will need to refer back to previous discussions. Happily, Slack offers a powerful and flexible search that you can use to find any content to which you have access. You can even refine your searches by channel or conversation, by person, by date, and by emoji! Glenn Fleishman explains all in this week’s chapter.
Perhaps the most compelling feature of Slack as a messaging platform is its support for integrations, which make it possible to have all your external Internet services report on their activities to Slack. And then there’s Slackbot, an automated team member that welcomes new team members, reminds you of upcoming events, and alerts you when someone mentions you in a channel you don’t follow. Bots and integrations are a big deal in Slack, and this chapter of “Take Control of Slack Basics” explains what you need to know.
If you’re not careful, Slack can become yet another overwhelming communications channel that just adds to your stress. But with some clever configuration of notification options and thought about how your Slack team should operate, you can turn down the volume. Even better, you can centralize other communications streams in Slack, turning it into a dashboard from which you can track everything that’s happening in your organization’s world.
Setting up a Slack team is easy, but there are a few things that are best to think about before you start working through the process. In this chapter previewing the start of “Take Control of Slack Admin,” Glenn Fleishman walks you through the basics and explains the difference between free and paid teams.