With many of us now working remotely, platforms like Slack have become even more valuable tools. Between February 1 and March 18, Slack added 7,000 customers, more than its entire preceding quarter.\
Especially for journalists and freelancers, Slack can be an effective way to talk about the current situation with their peers, get feedback on a draft, request advice on how to report on COVID-19, and more.
Slack is a topic we haven’t visited in a while. The communities we recognized in 2016 and 2018 are still ones you should check out, but we have a few more that should be on your radar.
Why should you join Slack?
If you’re considering joining Slack, here are a few of the benefits:
- Networking – Many offices have adopted Slack as their workplace communication tool. But especially for freelancers, Slack can be a great way to connect with like-minded professionals if you're feeling especially isolated due to the current situation.
- Less spam – By joining a channel specific to your needs, you can be relatively sure that the questions and content posted there will be more helpful and less spammy.
- Engagement – Slack reports that every week, there are five billion "actions" on Slack, which accounts for sending messages, uploading files, searching, and other ways users interact with the app.
- Smaller groups – It can be intimidating to ask questions in large group forums. Slack offers smaller groups for your niche.
If you normally work in an office setting, there's a good chance you’ve used Slack before. The platform reportedly has more than 12 million daily active users who are spending over nine hours a day connected to the service.
Don’t forget to download the app on your mobile device so that you can receive notifications even when you’re on the go or reporting in the field.
If you’re new to the chat game, here are a few quick etiquette rules to abide by.
- Follow community-specific guidelines. Many Slack communities will have their own guidelines or codes of conduct for members. Take a quick peek around the site before jumping in.
- Introduce yourself. Want to look like an expert? Make a solid introduction into the chat, explaining who you are, what you do, and what you hope to contribute and/or get in return.
- Create meaningful conversation. Pose thoughtful questions and craft meaningful, clear replies to help add to the discussion. The more valuable and authentic your replies, the more likely people will come to rely on you and jump to your aid in return.
- Be professional. It’s a common-sense tip. You may not agree with everyone, but always be sure to be constructive in your conversation. Be respectful and don’t spam the group or troll its members.
- Make sure you’re in the right channel. Each community may keep several different channels based on topic to help keep discussions organized. Before asking a question or jumping into the conversation, make sure you’re in the correct channel for your specific talking points.
Slack Communities to Join
Study Hall is a digital community and resource hub for media workers that's especially useful for freelancers. Members receive access to the News Digest and opportunity newsletters, an email Listserv, pitch guides, and the private Slack channel. One member describes Study Hall as “a community of friendly and supportive writers who are there for each other for crises and tiny questions, with every kind of help."
Support for Freelance Journalists
As the number of laid off and furloughed journalists continued to rise, four freelancers set up this Slack channel to be a resource for work opportunities. Other channel topics include virtual events, advice for working from home, and shout outs.
Buffer is one that we’ve recognized before and continues to be a Slack favorite. Members are experienced at growing brands via social media and marketing. The community holds weekly Community Mastermind discussions for members to share marketing strategies, ask questions, and get advice. There’s also a monthly virtual hangout on Zoom to get some face-to-face time with other users.
World of Writers
This community is comprised of writers, editors, and bloggers. Among the channel topics are #looking-for-work, #blog-owners, and #digital-nomads.
The Launch community is a space for entrepreneurs, designers, and creators to “collaborate, discuss new products, find work, get feedback, or even find a co-founder.”
Specifically for female founders of tech companies, this is a great community for getting inspired, as well as sharing ideas, challenges, and asking questions. Members include Mona Sabet, founder of Viblio, a video recognition tool used to organize video libraries, and Angela Cois of Roomino, a travel booking system for Slack teams.
As the name implies, this is a chat channel for bloggers. The dedicated channel topics include photography, shameless promos, and SEO. There’s also a channel for fangirling, “a place to share and geek out about our favorite fandoms, of course.”
Whether you’re already a remote worker (most of us, at this point) or considering making the switch, this is a great community to join. Remote work can be isolating and sometimes lonely – use this group to connect with others working from home.
Side Projects Club
Maybe blogging is just a hobby right now or it’s your side hustle. This community is used by members “as a way to chat about our side projects between meetings and also get to know everyone, including people in the other chapters.” Specific channels include #art, #coding, and #writing.
Journalists of Color
The Journalists of Color (JOCs) Slack channel was created to put these professionals “in the same room.” Recognizing that diversity in media is a major issue, this community offers a place for JOCs to discuss a variety of topics, collaborate on projects, or just vent to their peers.
The Writing Cooperative
With a mission to “help each other write better,” The Writing Cooperative is one of the largest publications on Medium. Whether you’re searching for edits on a draft, someone to collaborate with on a project, or just some general advice, this is a great community to join.