At exactly 2.33 pm today, Slack went down – yes, you heard. Down. Out. Disconnected.
With over eight million active daily users all over the world, Slack is of course the workplace collaboration and messaging platform that drives faster (and often 24 hours!) working practices for many businesses in the UK.
So far, Slack has handled the outage well. It’s responding to users complaining and asking questions on Twitter with, quite frankly, lightning speed – albeit using cut and paste holding messages. It’s also posting links to its website where users can find additional information on how the company is trying to resolve the issue.
With a connectivity error such as this, the best way to react is to work out what updates users will need, get that information to them in the easiest, fastest way possible: in this case, that’s through another social network. Responding to queries as you would in any normal situation – personally – and with assurances of action, even if the solution isn’t readily available is also a way to quell any immediate panic.
If there are any wider ramifications of the glitch – data leaks, lost work or a prolonged disconnect for remote working teams, then we’d expect a senior figure to step in and become a figurehead to share information and tackle any backlash.
Just yesterday we were fascinated to read about the founder Stuart Butterfield’s particularly un-techy upbringing on the BBC. He’s a savvy founder, with a good media profile and experience of tough times. He’s also a friendly face through which Slack can communicate directly with users should any crisis unfold.
When a key business tool such as Slack cuts out, it raises a broader question about flexible working and our dependence on technology to enable this. With the freedom to work wherever and whenever you want, often comes a lack of “home” comforts; wi-fi, desk space, drawers, post-its…. a nearby kettle, and most importantly, the ability to grab someone in-person for a chat or ask a question over your desk.
The future of work, digital security and how we communicate are all fodder for questions that could easily be directed towards Slack in the coming days.
But as for how this one pans out – we’ll check back tomorrow.