By @TheMarkDalton

Email turns 45 this year. Lets be honest though, most of us if not all of us hate email. It is like that mundane chore that you just have to do every single day. Then we get all the wrong kinds of email from the wrong people. Spam email, junk and mountains of promotional material that we just hate to see. 

If we are not hating our inbox out loud we are quietly emailing to say sorry for replying so late, sorry I missed your email, sorry your email went to my spam folder, sorry for forgetting to turn off auto-reply, sorry for the really long email, sorry for leaving the “sent from iPhone” at the bottom and sorry for bothering you at all.

The inbox seems to be the place where office junk converges from promotional junk to spam advertisements mixed in with some important stuff, emails to yourself as reminders for later and witty one-liners shared around the office. Email works better than ever before and does what it is meant to do. It is not going to vanish or disappear any time soon, instead we have apps and mail clients to manage it better.

However an increasing number of workers and finding frustration with email. It is great when you have other external companies getting in touch with you, but what about communicating with colleagues and workers? It sucks!

Slack is a popular messaging tool which is growing fast and reached 2 million users in 2015, it is expected to keep growing in 2016. Slack has found a niche in the market by focusing on businesses who are fed up with office email. Slack offers a more streamlined casual interface for communicating with colleagues and it feels like you are actually talking to people, not having to deal with boring email.

It can be used for casual communication, business communication and conferences. It also comes loaded with features such as automatic archive of conversations, ability to upload files, notifications and mentions and the ability to set up topic specific chatrooms for users to interact in.

Slack has been referred to as the world’s fastest growing start-up. It was launched in February 2014 and claims to have 2 million daily active users. The work based collaborative tool has found a place with colleagues wanting to communicate but without the hassle and chore of using email to do it.

Slack says that many users who are using the app are no longer using internal email.

“Most people who use Slack no longer send any email internally. If you’re on a Slack team then only things relating to your company happen inside there. And because Slack is only for internal communication there’s never any spam or junk. It’s also very quick to consume.”

Slack has also admitted that it is not designed to replace email. Email is so ubiquitous that there is no real way to replace it. Whether we want it or not, email is here to stay. Slack is designed to replace internal email in companies and among teams of creators and bloggers.

We tried out Slack last year on ITN and it never took off, at the time many people were not quite getting the grasp of what it was all about and how it worked. I ditched it pretty fast but I saw the real value at a later stage when I was beta testing an app on iOS.

Usually you have feedback forums to converse with other beta testers, however Airmail is beta testing their email app and they have setup Slack to allow beta testers to converse and interact, and it is phenomenal. It is easier to converse, easier to leave feedback, easier to get in touch with people and it is a lot more fun than emails of support forums.

It is definitely a tool that I can see taking off this year and I’m hoping that it becomes more widespread and picked up by more people. Fingers crossed because I hate internal email.

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