10 Tips for Failing at Slack (to Increase Mayhem)

Like many people, I (have to) use Slack to collaborate with team members at work.
These are the hard fun lessons I’ve learned so far.

This is especially great if you have the secret goal of interruptions. Interrupt people’s day as much as possible. Slack makes that easy, if you know how..

Alternatively: If you want to succeed, then do the opposite of this!

This post is inspired by the talk 10 Tips for failing badly at Microservices by David Schmitz. It’s great, be sure to check it out!

Use @here all the time

Everything you have to say is very important. Make sure everyone sees your message instantly. All the time!
Even better, use @channel instead.. that also alerts people that are offline. Bonus points for after hours!

Don’t talk in a “thread”

Less organization of your thoughts the better! Makes it more fun to find later! Also keeps the channels busy!

Direct Message people with just “Hi”

The more interruptions the better, that’s why we use Slack right? Only say “Hi” to someone in a direct message that you need to talk to. Once they reply, wait a few minutes so you can interrupt them again with the real reason you’re messaging them.

Always talk in the wrong channel

Use your “team” channel for irrelevant banter. Or even better, instead of creating a new channel, use a large channel for a specific topic.. constantly. Because why use Slack channels properly?

Split up your thoughts into multiple messages

A minute or two apart for each message is best.

Expect everyone to work “synchronously” using Slack

Other people will drop everything to reply to your direct message. Try using @here in a direct message for more fun.

Start a “Slack Call” in your team’s channel when it’s not a meeting for your team!

Then invite other people into the call that are not in the channel. This helps increase interruptions, and causes confusion in your team’s channel. It also allows people that don’t need to be in the meeting (that are in the channel) to jump in and derail the meeting!
One of my favourites!

Never mute your mic on a call

It’s important everyone can hear your children crying in the background.

Never use video in a Slack call

This is fairly obvious. Using video makes it easier to communicate. It brings you closer to being in-person. So don’t do that! Besides, Slack video calls are kind of terrible anyways. (Hardware decoding, who needs that?).

Treat Direct Messages like an ad-hoc channel

Invite a bunch of people into a Direct Message. Then, later add a new person to confuse them (since they won’t see any chat history). Bonus points if it’s actually important, since it’s nearly impossible to find again later.

Slack Channel for documentation

Send important and helpful tips into your team’s Slack channel. Use it like a place for documentation. Brain dump anything you think is useful. Of course, the less context the better.
Important: Don’t put the information anywhere else. Then when people ask, you can say you already shared it with the team!

Only use reactions that are very annoying and constantly blink or flash with bright colours

Everyone loves blinking things!


That was more than 10 tips for failing at Slack, so that’s a bonus!
Enjoy using Slack with no regard for other people! You can now interrupt anyone using Slack (Unless they’ve turned off all notifications).

Okay wait. Do the opposite of this, PLEASE!

If you want to actually work better remotely, read this post from Doist: “Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive“.