Is this the tool that finally ends email?

I was in the airport earlier this week and spotted Inc. magazine’s “Company of the Year” issue.

Slack

The brazen claim on the cover: “Say goodbye to email.” I’m not sure that it’ll kill email, but tools like Slack and HipChat are worth a look if you’re seeking to find a collaboration tool that can help organize communication between program or project teams. 

Why won’t this be an “Email Killer”?

These tools appear to be internal communication tools, and there will always be a need to reach outside of your group – be it your organization or simply a project group with which you’re collaborating. I’m not sure I see how you can send a message to an outside party like a potential client or customer or even your mother without using email.

Why should you try one of these tools anyway?

I tried to use Slack with an internal project team and it was an effort that lasted about 3 days before we all reverted to email and Google Drive. I was definitely not an early adopter.

Then my colleague, Melissa Milloway, invited me to join an L&D community HipChat group and it was a great experience. Like any new initiative, switching over to something like Slack or HipChat requires a critical mass of users.

I’ve found this particular group to be a sort of virtual Learning and Development water cooler, where learning professionals from across the country can come together and exchange ideas on anything from how best to use Articulate Storyline to what the best animated gif would be to epitomize a Monday morning.

Recently, I began to use it within my own organization in order to better facilitate communication between Seattle-based and Delhi-based staff, and it seems to be working (but it’s early still… we’ll see what happens when the initial novelty wears off). Not only has it helped facilitate communication across geographically dispersed staff, it’s also given us a way to better organize our project-based communication. Instead of trying to sift through bunches of emails in our inboxes, we can now keep all of our project-specific communication and documents in one area, which makes knowledge management a bit easier.

Interested in seeing how HipChat works as a learning and development community tool?

If you’re interested in kicking the tires on a collaboration tool like HipChat, sign up here to join us. Just be careful, there are a few members of the community who work for Amazon and are forever trying to poach high quality L&D talent!

 

2 thoughts on “Is this the tool that finally ends email?

  1. I can’t never keep up with all these new tools and apps. This is the first I hear of these two tools, Slack and HipChat; I will have to check them out. I have to say that although there are many tools like these that can be used to collaborate, I really don’t think that e-mail will ever go away. I think that it is necessary to have an e-mail account at all times. If you don’t have an e-mail, you cannot sign up for a new site, or new tool, or almost anything anymore. It seems like everywhere you go, even the doctors office, ask you for an e-mail. I will have to say that tools like these, Slack and HipChat, are best to use for, like you mentioned, a group project or collaboration, but e-mail is the basis of communication, I think, at least in most work places. One of the things that I have seen in tools like these, Slack, HipChat, or even GoToMeeting are that they are popular for a while but then it seems like another tool comes up that might be a little better and so on, but I think e-mail is the one tool that will never go away.
    Interesting Read!!
    Patty Hinojosa

    • Thanks Patty. Email is interesting and embedded in our current culture… but there was a time that fax machines (and fax numbers) and office memos were also embedded. Who knows where the tipping point may come that moves *everyone* away from things like email (maybe it hasn’t been invented yet), but HipChat is definitely helping me reduce the amount of internal emails I’ve been getting… and like I said in the post, it’s also been a great way to bring more transparency to things and get people connected across continents!

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