How to follow messages in Slack

Never miss a reply to an important message in a Slack channel with the Follow Message feature.

How to follow messages in Slack

With Slack becoming more and more widespread, you've probably found yourself awash in a deluge of messages in your team workspace. This is a good problem to have, as it means your team is using the tool to improve collaboration. However, that uptick in usage means important messages and threads can get lost in the wash.

Fortunately, the developers of Slack have seen to it to make sure you have the necessary tools you need to keep track of those messages. One particular feature you need to know about is the Follow Message option. By following a message, you can be certain that important bit of text--and any follow up--won't get lost under the weight of communiques.

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The feature is simple to use, once you know where to find it, and is available to both the desktop and mobile versions of the Slack service. There is only a slight difference in how the feature is used, depending on whether you're on the mobile or desktop app. Let's take a look at both.

What you'll need

  1. Either the desktop or mobile Slack app (Android/iOS)
  2. A Slack account
  3. A workspace to sign in to

What is a message?

It's an odd question to be asking, but there does need to be a bit of clarification. The messages to which I am referring are not Direct Messages, but messages that have been posted to a channel. Chances are, you're not going to lose Direct Messages. Messages posted within a busy channel, on the other hand, can easily get lost. Those are the types of messages we are going to follow.

How to follow a message in Slack using the mobile app

We'll first take a look at the mobile version of Slack. In order to follow a message, first locate the message from within a channel that you want to follow. Once you've located the message, tap it. In the resulting window (Figure A), tap the menu button (three vertical dots).

Figure A


A message to be followed.

From the menu drop-down, tap Follow Message (Figure B).

Figure B


Following a message.

The one caveat to this is you get no indication that you've followed a message. This holds true for both the mobile and desktop versions of Slack. There is no "Following" badge or menu entry to list messages you are following. In fact, until a followed message gets a reply, the only way you can tell you are following the message is to tap said message, tap the menu button, and look for an Unfollow Message entry.

However, when a message does get a reply, it will show up in the Threads section (Figure C). 

Figure C


Our followed messages.

How to follow a message using the desktop app

The process for following messages on the desktop app is very similar to that of the mobile app. The primary difference is that you don't have to actually open the particular message to follow. Here's how you take care of this in the desktop app:

  1. Locate the message to follow.
  2. Click the menu button associated with the message.
  3. Click Follow Message (Figure D).

Figure D


Following a message in the desktop version of Slack.

And that's all there is to following a message in both the mobile and desktop versions of the Slack app. Using this feature will ensure you never miss out on a reply to an important topic within a workspace channel on Slack.

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa