Best Practices for Using TOK Slack
You may have heard that Together Oklahoma does a lot of internal communication on an internet platform called Slack. It isn’t just another social media. Slack is an excellent replacement for email. Once you start using it, I think you’ll really like it! Below I briefly explain how and why we use it for TOK and how you can best engage with this tool.
How to join Together Oklahoma Slack:
Once you fills out the new membership form you will receive an invitation to join Slack. Your invitation email will look something like this:
When you click the green “Join Now button, you will be taken to a screen that looks like this.
If your email address is not already your name PLEASE change your “Display name” to something we will recognize as you. Also please set a password. (Passwords must be at least 6 characters long, and can’t be things like “password”, “123456” or “abcdef”.)
Term of Service
Review the User Terms of Service and click “I Agree”.
You will then be logged into Slack where you can take a tour and learn more about how it works. (If it is not your first Slack workspace you can skip the tutorial and just jump right in.)
Explore the Channels
You’re in! On the right hand side you’ll see your name, “All Threads”, and then the word Channels next to a little plus sign. Press the little + button to see all the other open channels you can join.
Add a Profile Photo
At the bottom of this home screen the Slackbot offers you the option to press the “Your profile photo” button to add a picture. Please add a photo! This is a private TOK workspace and not a social media channel so don’t worry about looking perfect. Looking like YOU in the channel means that even if I don’t remember your name, I can see your face, remember that we talked at a TOK meeting, and answer you as a friend or collaborator instead of as a complete stranger. Please let us see your face and thanks for humoring me!
There are a lot more details I could explain but instead:
- you can now play around with slack,
- watch the Slack videos,
- and/or ask me or your other Together Oklahoma teammates how slack works IN SLACK.
HOORAY! Please don’t be shy to ask for help this new tool is FANTASTIC once you get used to it and all of us were new to it at one time, so we are here to offer you support. Here is a detailed business explanation of what Slack is and here is the Slack official video tour.
Play around, explore the channels, join your two legislative district channels and/or read about why district teams are so important in our advocacy tip sheet here.
If you just really want to read more from me about how this works and why we are doing it. There are a few more details below. I hope you find you eventually enjoy Slack as much as I do and that you give the TOK team Feedback about how we can make it even better.
When you join you will be automatically added to the following channels as soon as you accept the email invitation to join.
- statewidetok where we talk about things that have an impact on everyone in the state.
- self_care_and_social a social space where we also cheer each other on in staying mentally healthy.
Once you are logged into Slack in those two channels you can scroll back through the conversation to see what has been happening there.
Next take a look at the other channels in your left hand side bar. There are open channels for local chapters and there are also channels for active legislative districts. If you don’t see your chapter or district, let us know in the statewide channel and we’ll let you what is going on with that channel. It is a good idea to write a comment to introduce yourself to your neighbors in the channel closest to where you live.
Is this starting to make sense? I like to say that Slack is one of those places “where the magic happens” because it is both a little out of our comfort zone and it has great potential for improving the way we do representative democracy.
Why do we use Slack?
- Together Oklahoma members are spread out all over the state and Slack lets us have real time conversations with each other so we can become a state-wide team.
- Slack lifts the burden of too many emails, confusing email chains, leaving people out of a conversation, and/or including people who don’t want to be included.
- We can search old conversations, pin links to other platforms like google docs, and have conversations about what is happening at the Capitol in real time.
- The legislature moves fast and during session we need to be able to have a conversation with each other about bills and strategy without trying to keep up with a million different emails.
- In Slack, you choose how much you engage with a topic and how often you get notifications or to not get notifications at all.
- There is a lot more that Slack can do but you don’t have to know all the bells and whistles to find it useful.
Other useful things about Slack:
- We can send private messages to other TOK members in Slack so we don’t have to ask each and every one of our fellow chapter or district teammates for their private contact information. If you have a question that could be answered by any number of people in one group, it might be better to ask in a group instead of in a private message.
- Slack messages can be searched by keyword, and users can also set up very specific notifications to stay on top of certain conversations by keyword as well.
- Some channels are private and others are public. For example capitol_updates are open to everyone for statewide conversations as are each legislative district channel. There are some leadership channels open only to those who have been added to that team so we don’t all get overwhelmed with too many channels.
- Google docs and TOK Wiki channels can be integrated with Slack and pinned in the sidebar so you can always find the resources you need. (more about this soon)
Best practices in Slack:
Pick a recognizable name– When you first join Slack make sure to set your name to something people can recognize as you. It may automatically set you as the first part of your email and I probably don’t know cucumberLady5000 from triceratopsBalloon. Common first names are tricky too. At last count we had 10 members named Emily and 4 of them have last names that start with the letter G.
Download the Slack App for your phone or tablet if possible– It can be mighty convenient to have your whole team with you on the go. I know some folks only use it on their mobile device because they easily notice their notifications. I alternate between my phone and my laptop because my old lady hands like using a full keyboard and because it is easier to see the useful info on the sidebars of my larger screen.
Keep your posts brief and to the point– We want to catch what you are saying and I’ve found that when folks write more than a paragraph most other members won’t read it. (Yes, I know I should take my own advice.)
Check out the other channels– There are quite a few open channels that may interest you. You can check them out by clicking the little CHANNELS on the left sidebar in Slack.
Don’t be shy about asking for help– The legislative process is complicated, advocacy takes some work, and we are all new to Slack, so if you have a question, chances are other people have that question too!