5 things to consider before pinging the entire Slack channel

Dropping an irrelevant @here in the middle of a busy Slack channel can unnecessarily disrupt workflows and waste people's time. Don't be that person.

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Image: iStock/povozniuk

In the age of hybrid work, telecommuters are using a vast suite of virtual collaboration tools ranging from video conferencing to messenger services. Similar to in-person communication, messaging platforms a la Slack also require their own specific ground rules and basic etiquette.

Slack's @here feature makes it easy to "ping" all active members in a given Slack channel once a message is sent. While there are situations where it's important to notify all channel members, in other instances, a hasty ping could be less noteworthy and more of a nuisance.

Without proper consideration, Slack's @here feature can easily become the equivalent of unnecessarily CC'ing everyone on every email. Here are five things to consider before using Slack's @here feature for efficiency, workflow and sanity's sake.

Be mindful of others

First and foremost, it's important to be considerate of other people's time before pinging dozens of people in a Slack channel. Remember, people are working and minutes matter. Does every single person in this Slack channel need to see the information you plan to post? Will this update impact this person or a project in a positive or meaningful way? If not, consider a less conspicuous approach to intrachannel Slack communication.

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Consider new channels

Before sending an @here notification in a Slack channel, it could also be a good idea to consider creating a new channel entirely. Not everyone in a given channel may not need to be privy to your latest ping, but select individuals could benefit from this information.  If these @here alerts routinely involve particular people and particular subjects but not every person in the channel, consider creating a new channel for these conversations or projects.

Think about the medium

It's also important to make sure you are using communication tools efficiently. In busier Slack channels, it's all too easy for incoming information to bury past pings and this can make it difficult to locate older messages. If you are using Slack to list key project information, consider pooling these ideas into a shared document or another mutually available resource. This will make it easier to quickly access and peruse select knowledge rather than perpetually sifting through a hodgepodge of pertinent and irrelevant correspondences.

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Utilize all available tools

Sending a ping via Slack may be easier than sending an email or hopping on a virtual call, but that doesn't mean it's always the appropriate format. Pinging the channel and delivering an update may be adequate in certain instances, but woefully inadequate at other times.

Is a limited paragraph of text ideal or could it be more fruitful for all parties involved to organize a virtual meeting to communicate and assess these concepts? While it may sound taxing to add yet another Zoom meeting to the workday, touching on topics in real time with all key players in attendance could be a worthwhile endeavor.

SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

Protect sensitive information

It's also important to remember that some information should be shared privately rather than announced in a virtual room. Larger Slack channels with dozens of members could include third parties and other vendors outside of the organization. Use discretion and the appropriate channels when discussing potentially sensitive organizational information in general; especially when notifying everyone in a given space.

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