Stories, Discord-like voice channels, and cross-business DMs may seem like impractical alternatives to standard working tools, but Slack thinks that the informal nature of these features can help coworkers connect to one another (and keep your nose out of Gmail or Zoom). Slack plans to implement these features in late 2020 and early 2021.
The upcoming Slack stories feature (or “asynchronous video” if you’re a nerd) lets users pin videos to channels. Slack suggests that the feature could stand in for quick meetings, allowing team leaders to comfortably share information without scheduling a video call.
Slack’s instant audio or “push-to-talk” feature is similar to Discord’s voice chatting setup, where a group can create permanent voice channels that people can enter and leave on their own accord. It’s quicker and more convenient than typing in a Slack thread or joining a video call, and Slack suggests that audio channels could speed up the workflow of smaller teams.
While “asynchronous video” and audio channels can free businesses from the grasp of Zoom or Google Meet, they aren’t useful for communicating with people who work outside your company. That’s why Slack is developing a tool called Slack Connect—a channel-based alternative to email. Slack Connect lets you DM people outside your company, so that you can talk to partners, customers, or vendors in a real-time environment.
But don’t worry, strangers can’t message you on Slack unless they click your Connect invite link or scan your QR code. You can share this contact info on social media or in a company byline, or stick with email if that’s your bag.