Apr 302018
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series 2017-18 Program Chronicles

Sara and Ben used a live Slack workspace that attendees could join

The April program was a multi-chapter, virtual, lunchtime workshop on the collaboration application Slack.

The program, a joint presentation of the STC Philadelphia Metro and New England chapters, was held at lunchtime on 25 April. It was led by Sara Feldman, President of STC San Diego, and Ben Woelk, Vice President of STC Rochester and incoming STC Vice President. Members of both chapters attended.

Webcam image of Sara FeldmanWebcam

Slack workshop co-presenter Sara Feldman

Webcam image of Ben WoelkWebcam

Slack workshop co-presenter Ben Woelk

The format of the program was a virtual, interactive workshop. Sara and Ben set up a Slack channel for participants, who could join the channel in real time and actively participate as the presenters took turns demonstrating Slack features.

Slack is a collaborative instant messaging application that is fast becoming a standard communication tool at many companies as well as several STC communities. Messages are organized into collections called workspaces. Workspaces can include threaded conversations. Discussions are visible to the entire group, and it’s easy to set up subgroups or private chats as well. Slack supports posting files, images, video, and emojis. The basic version of Slack is free for nonprofit organizations, while the paid “enterprise” version supports more extensive searching and archiving of messages.

Discussion touched on Slack’s potential as a replacement for not only IM applications but even email. Ben, an expert on security, pointed out that Slack requires a search warrant to divulge private chats.

After the program, STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter vice president Danielle Villegas commented, “It was great to have Sara and Ben show us the basics to help familiarize us with how it works. I had been a little confused about how it worked when trying to figure it out myself. In Sara and Ben’s capable hands, it was easy! I’m hoping to implement the use of Slack with the STC-PMC for our next program year, as I think it will make it easier to track conversations about different aspects of what we do as a chapter.”

STC New England President Paul Duarte added, “It was a pleasure to have Ben and Sara present Slack. The tool fills a need for much faster communication, and it has features that make it a good workspace for technical communicators. We hope to have more of these [events] in the future.”

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