Now that we’re spending more time indoors, we’re finding new platforms — and new ways to use old platforms — to stay in touch, whether it’s for work or with friends. This is the case with Slack, an instant-messaging platform which functions somewhere in the space between email and text messages. Designed for quick communication, Slack became an important tool for a lot of workplaces well before everyone started working from home. But you can use it for pretty much anything: friends, group activities, clubs, or online communities.
Slack has a free version and offers several paid plans. You start by setting up a workspace (which is your main area of operations, and contains your network of contacts) on Slack. In your workspace, you create channels, which are like chat rooms or group chats. In those channels, you and your friends / family / team members can text chat, exchange files, integrate with other apps such as Google Docs and Office 365, and even have video chats (although if you’re using the free version, you can only do a one-to-one video chat).
If you’re not already familiar with it, though, Slack takes some getting used to, so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Be aware that Slack is rolling out a new version, and the instructions below may differ depending on whether you’re using a free or paid version.