Slack Off, Slack On--One Way to Encourage People to Communicate

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

"Whenever I think of shooting away a series of questions to someone on Slack, the "away" status makes me question myself. Should I really disturb her/him?"

Whoa! That’s funny. Why would someone writing to me disturb me or anyone? Afterall, the activity is between the writer and his or her device. It has nothing to do with me, unless of course, I give my receiving device the power to disturb me audibly and/or visibly. I am not chipped yet. lol. I still have some body autonomy, some bodily sovereignty.

If productivity is your aim, why leave yourself open to distractions? That’s silly! It seems perfectly reasonable to me to set aside time, on a regular basis to consume and respond to items in your “inboxes”, so to speak.

Don't you think it is presumptuous to imagine that someone is going to stop whatever they are doing, read your message and respond? Or worse yet , respond to the "Hi" that you sent as an indication that you want to engage in real time back and forth texting. Ugh! If you want a conversation, pick up the phone already! Geez LouWEEZ! I digress.

Assuming that an unseen written message has the power of getting someone’s attention like a tap on the shoulder or like a physical entrance into an office is, in my humble opinion, ridiculous.

On Slack, I noticed that my status changes to “away” automatically with lack of activity. I am moderating a Slack channel called “Ask Nia” ( #ask-nia). The idea is for team members to post text for proofreading or editing there. Team members are also welcomed to post links to Google Docs and give me editing access via However, most of the time these days, nobody is submitting much. There are several reasons for this. One reason is because they don’t realize that their English is jacked, is substandard, is broken. Maybe another reason is because they feel ashamed of what other people on the team will think. And I suspect, yet another reason is that my Slack status says “away” most of the time. But I am not “away”.

The people I am working with seem to think that an “away” status means that posting or sending something will be a waste of time or that it will be disturbing me. That’s the culture. And although I can acknowledge the attitude, I do not consent. I refuse to waste my time tickling the platform to make my status remain "active".

So, this morning, I was looking for a way to keep my Slack status “active”, always “active”. I’ve added figuring out how to get this always “active” status on Slack to my to-do list. Here is the first article that I found.

It looks like in addition to English, food production, and wealth preservation, I might have to up my "soft" tech skills.

P.S. Oh, and by the way, I want to build and be part of  a business, a community, in which the members communicate on a regular basis and do not allow themselves to treat the written word as if the written word is equivalent to a person truly in their face.

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