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Guide to Slack Notifications

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Everything You Need to Know About Slack Notifications…and a Few Surprises

In today’s cloud-driven economy, teams increasingly work remotely — creating unprecedented real-time collaboration at a global scale. Central to this process are workstream collaboration platforms that help facilitate fast and seamless communication.

With more than 10 million daily active users, Slack is one such platform that helps bridge the collaboration and communications gap for remote workers. In the past, users were primarily dependent on in-person interactions, email, or unified communications platforms like Skype for Business to keep different projects moving. Today, however, workstream collaboration apps, like Slack, help reduce internal email while providing more authentic collaboration opportunities.

The tricky part? Adjusting to Slack’s real-time notifications that send alerts to relevant parties of the most recent updates, new messages, or next action steps.

What Is Slack?
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Slack bills itself as a collaboration hub for work. It is essentially a workstream collaboration application platform that is designed to replace email as the primary method of collaboration – allowing team members to discuss group projects, share important documents, and broadcast announcements from anywhere.

Collaboration and communications can be organized by channels, group discussions, or private chats with integrations from a multitude of other apps enabling a one-stop hub for your entire workflow.

Because it is a central hub for communication, Slack notifications and alerts can be overwhelming if not properly customized.

Getting the Most Out of Slack Notifications

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So, how do you know when a channel, mention, or message requires input? Like most messaging platforms, Slack comes preloaded with numerous notifications that work out of the box. If you’re a team member for a given channel, you’ll receive an alert every time someone:

  • Direct messages (DMs) you
  • Replies to a thread you currently follow
  • Mentions you by name (@your_name)
  • Uses a keyword you’re following

All Slack alerts exist as colored badges within the app itself, with:

  • Blue badges designating unread activity within the workspace
  • Red badges signifying a DM, mention or keyword trigger

However, the true beauty of Slack notifications is the granular control team members enjoy at the individual level.

For example, you can select specific keywords to receive notifications about by going to preferences for either the specific channel, or at a global preferences scale, and enter the keywords you’d like to receive a Slack notification (or badge) for. This can be useful for finding any time a topic of interest comes up.

But, if you’re suddenly bombarded with all those notifications, it can be a pain to scroll through all those messages so they’re marked as read. Fortunately, an easy way to clear a large number of new messages is as simple as shift + Esc, which will literally clear all your unread message notifications.

If that’s a step too far for your comfort, read on to learn how to personalize your notifications to only receive an alert for what’s most necessary.

Slack Push Notifications and Personalized Settings

With most workstream collaboration platforms, new messages are broadcast to the entire team. Even if only a few members need to see this message, everyone in that channel can receive a notification.

However, Slack allows you to minimize alerting the entire team with messages by allowing you to mention specific people.

For example:

  • @accounting pings everyone within the accounting department
  • @office-party alerts everyone attached to this specific project
  • @sarah only notifies Sarah that there’s a message waiting for her

Everyone within that channel can see these messages, but only the intended recipient(s) will receive an alert, minimizing unnecessary notifications.

Moreover, team members can enable and disable the alerts they receive on both a global scale, as well as channel-specific settings, helping to minimize notification disruptions even more.

To customize these settings within all of Slack:

  • Click on your workspace name
  • Select preferences
  • Choose your preferences

For channel-specific Slack notification settings:

  • Click on the channel name
  • Select the gear icon in the top bar
  • Choose Notification preferences

Because some channels are busier than others, it can be useful to minimize distractions to enable you to focus on prioritizing what really matters. And if that’s not enough, it may be helpful to mute a channel for an extended period of time – such as when a social gathering is being prepared while you’re on a tight deadline or doing a screenshare.

To mute a channel, open the gear icon near the channel settings menu and select mute #channel.

Slack Notifications on Mobile Devices

All of the above alerts and customizations apply to mobile and browser clients as well — with smartphones and tablets automatically importing whatever notifications settings you have in the desktop or browser versions of Slack.

An added benefit to all of the clients speaking to one another — you won’t receive the same alert on multiple devices. Mobile notifications only come through if the desktop app is closed — and vice versa. This guarantees you won’t be double-pinged unnecessarily.

If neither app is open, notifications will come directly to your designated email by default. Like everything else in Slack’s seamless workflow, this setting can also be disabled as necessary.

To do adjust when you’ll receive mobile and email notifications:

  • Select the workspace name
  • Select Preferences > Notifications
  • Under “When I’m not active on desktop” and then uncheck “send me email notifications”

If all these modifications to your Slack alerts were not enough – there’s still one more feature we recommend playing around with when you have a free moment.

Enjoy customizing your notifications all the way down to their sound and appearance to put the cherry on top.

Struggling with Adoption Challenges?

If your loving Slack but can’t seem to get everyone else on board, learn more about how we can help you monitor and measure user adoption to increase the value for not just Slack, but all your workstream collaboration platforms, for everyone.

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