When people in the general population think of the word “slack” they may think of someone slacking off and not doing their work. However people in the tech field are likely to think of Slack, the team chatting application. In fact, maybe even many tech people don’t know about Slack as it is still fairly new. However a lot of people of the younger tech based generation likely know of it, and probably make use of it in their University.

How can this adoption of students with Slack help Slack grow?

Usage on Campus

Slack is starting to make more of an appearance on campus lately. It is free to use, and works great for aiding teams in communicating. With students typically being involved in many group projects a chat system like Slack is incredibly useful. In person meetings with groups are annoying to arrange. Everyone has different schedules with both their classes, and also their part-time jobs they typically have. It is much more convenient to talk over the web.

Now almost every new groups first step is to decide who will setup the Slack team and invite everyone to it.

Why not other solutions?

Previously methods like email, text, Skype, or Facebook were being used. These all have their shortcomings. Email is too slow for the back and forth. It needs to be faster, especially if doing things like brainstorming. Text is not versatile enough and requires smaller messages and everyone to have a proper working phone that can text. Skype while it satisfies most of the problems is now fairly clunky and does not work so well across all systems. And until recently it didn’t even have a web interface. Chats also are not done offline, so in order to get a message from someone both parties need to be online otherwise the message sits in a queue and is seen later. Additionally there are no channels to manage separate pieces of work and group members.

Benefits to slack

The Slack organization may not be profiting off of all of these students using their services completely free, however they are definitely getting A LOT of advertising. And us students are a key audience to conquer as we are likely to be moving into the workplaces in a 1-4 years time, and bring with us a technology stack we are familiar with that we may influence a workplace to make use of.

With internships being so common, there is also the influence when students are on their 4 or 8 month internships to introduce new modern technology they have learned about. This has happened at my workplace and many others. The young interns introduce new technology and it is adopted.

In my case our workplace adopted a self-hosted alternative to Slack, but we originally were experimenting with Slack and loved it and it improved the workplace environment. The reason for going self-hosted was because of the policies regarding data storage. We could not be storing potentially sensitive data in an American based companies servers, nor can we assume they are not looking at that data either.

However regardless of this, the popularity of Slack may be increased at such a rate due to the students moving into the workplace.

Conclusion

Overall it is very likely that students are a big influence of many products adoption and Slack is just one of the many example you could likely come up with. It’s interesting to look at how different sources can influence a natural growth, and I think this is one of the big sources for this particular kind of application.