What are Slack Groups?
Slack is a leading platform for workplace communication and collaboration. Slack offers instant messaging, file sharing, the ability to create and post in different community threads, and more.
In addition to its prominence as a workplace communication tool, Slack can also be used to form communities and connect with others in your field for networking, discussion, and information sharing. There are Slack communities focused on a variety of industries, interests, locations, and hobbies. Slack communities give you an opportunity to engage in real-time discussions on topics related to your field of work or interest. There are currently over 500 Slack communities, some public and some private, that span a wide range of topics and purposes.
Joining a Slack community is a great way to network with others in your field while in-person networking events and conferences are largely canceled or postponed. Some communities, like the OG Slack community, also have guest speakers for AMAs, so that you can hear from experts.
How to Find and Request Access to Slack Groups?
There are many resources available to help you find a Slack community. You can find lists of Slack communities on standuply, in marketing subreddits, and via databases such as Slofile.
For more ideas check out our full blog on Finding Open Slack Communities.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing slack community to join. You can sign up here for Online Geniuses’ very own Slack community. This group is an example of a private Slack community.
Public vs. Private Slack Groups
Public Slack groups are communities open to anyone. To join a public Slack group, you’ll simply need to provide a name and email to request a Slack invite and join the channel. Invites are sent automatically and promptly. If you are not familiar with the Slack platform or Slack communities, checking out public Slack communities can be a great place to start. There you can explore the platform while you decide if Slack communities are right for you or wait for an application to be approved for a private Slack community.
Membership and entry into private Slack groups are subject to approval. You may have to submit an application, fee, or employment information in order to gain access to private slack communities. It can take some time to gain access to these groups. Larger private groups may take a few weeks or even a month to approve an application because of the large number of applicants they receive. If the group is free, the administrators may be doing this on a volunteer basis outside of their normal working hours.
Why Set Slack Groups To Private?
There are a number of reasons that community organizers and administrators may choose to make their Slack community private.
It offers a way to screen potential members prior to allowing them to join and participating in the community. Many private groups require an application. They may ask about your current employment, the reason for wanting to join the community, your location (as there are many Slack communities are location-based such as NYCTech), or other pertinent information so that they can assess whether you will be a good fit for the community. This is often done to ensure the integrity of the group and maintain the quality and relevance of the discussions. Many groups both public and private are beginner-friendly, but others are specifically designed for people currently working in a certain field or role.
There may be a membership fee. Running a Slack community is a lot of work, and while the platform is free at the basic level, workspaces or communities will need to pay if they want to provide members with access to premium features. The free version of Slack only provides access to the last 10,000 messages. This may sound like a lot, but for large groups with active members that can go by fairly quickly. Being able to search through old messages also helps prevent the conversation from getting repetitive, as new members can use the search feature to find answers to common questions instead of having to ask again. It also provides members with added value and resources. Thus, depending on the type of community, size, and activity level it is sometimes worth upgrading to a paid version of Slack and charging a membership fee.
Lastly, a private community adds a level of privacy for members. Slack communities allow members to connect with like-minded individuals to share successes, failures, questions, and news. However, members may feel more comfortable sharing in a private Slack community of their peers rather than a more public and easily accessible community.
Public vs Private Channels
Slack workspaces or communities are made up of a variety of different message boards or chats referred to as channels. Every channel’s name is tailored to its purpose. For example, many communities feature a #hiring or #jobs channel to share job postings that are relevant to the community.
By default, Slack channels are set to public unless a workspace owner or administrator sets them to private. Once a channel has been made private, it cannot be converted to a public channel regardless of whether the channel was previously public.
Slack channels may be made private to give the administrators a place to interact in a community or to allows specific teams in the workplace to interact and discuss information that may not have been shared with the full organization yet.
Slack generally recommends making most of your channels public to allow for open communication and sharing. For a company, public channels with open communication help promote a company culture of collaboration and sharing while avoiding making employees feel as though they are being left out. For a Slack community, it is recommended to leave the majority of the channels public, as the goal of most communities is to share information and create conversations about the industry.