Email for rhizoANT projects

flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images http://flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/ 14783749432 shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images http://flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/
14783749432 shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

As we’re looking at collaborative tools for an upcoming presentation about rhizo14, Rebecca and AK  have both written about their feelings of their experiences with using email. In particular, AK talks about the challenges posed by having multiple email addresses – haha, I know that one only too well. I have 2 hotmail accounts, a couple of yahoo accounts, 2 Gmail that I can remember the details of and my staff email. Oh, and my student account that I rarely remember to check. Most of the time I can manage these according to what I am doing, but during rhizoANT communications it’s a big mess, with some threads going to a Gmail account and some to my staff address – still, I can manage that.

What I can’t cope with is the way that emails about important stuff (who is doing what and when) gets lost in the noise of a conversation. I know that I can be guilty of this sometimes, so I’m not meaning to wave my finger at anybody and tell them off for chatting over email – I just wish there was a way of separating out the channels.  I know that when there are a lot of emails over a short period of time I start to ignore them all – in fact I have now set up rules to divert rhizo stuff to a separate folder, just so I can ignore them easily. Once in a while I try to read them through and see if I’ve missed anything, but if rhizoANT emails arrive in the evenings I often ignore them. And sometimes folk change the subject of a conversation, so it’s really hard to see later where threads evolved from. So I would say that email does not work as a collaborative tool for me – and I feel much better about RhizoANTing about it 😉

I think that this has come to my attention recently because of another collaborative projects that I’m engaged in. As part of a new cohort of Hybrid Pedagogy Editors I’ve been introduced to a new collaborative tool called Slack. Roughly, this allows us to have various chat rooms (channels) for different things  – so we can have a dedicated thread for each project as well as having places for chit chat (for example, we have a channel called “general” as well as one called “random”) – as well as having private messaging and private groups (so we’ve got a group called “music” to share playlists). Using Slack makes it much easier to chat yet remain focussed, and to be able to quickly see what needs to be done. I heart it.

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6 Responses to Email for rhizoANT projects

  1. I have heard of Slack, though not used it. Of course, it is yet another place to have to log in, leave traces of ourselves, and remember to check (unless, ironically, it generates further email notifications and alerts!). Of course, email is great when I go into the subway and lose access, my emails are downloaded into my iPhone and I can reply while offline. Many of the wonderfully-powerful cloud services do not allow the offline use.

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Yup, there are downsides to Slack. If only there was one thing that does everything -this seems to be a recurring refrain for us.

  2. Maha Bali says:

    The only way i manage anything is thru phone and iPad notifications. Otherwise i would go nuts. And i love Slack but if EVERYONE used it for EVERYTHING i don’t think i would like it as much. I have been using it for about…8 months now? And it’s difficult to stick to the topix of a thread unless u channel ur #wwcs and not all groups are like that!

  3. Rebecca says:

    I get your frustration with multiple emails, but from a different perspective. I have all my email channel into a single gmail account – so I read everything in one place. My challenge is when sending things out and creating distribution lists, I never know which email to use for people – especially when they have multiple.
    I have been using pobox as an email service for almost 20 years now – this means that no matter what I do, who my service provider is, I have the same email address – it never changes … except for when I’m working in the Google world – then I need to use my gmail address … which is kind of annoying, but oh well …
    And for some reason gmail hates Maha Bali … I cannot get my gmail account to recognize her. She is in my contacts, and it still gives an error … I end up having to cut and paste her actual email address every time … ugh …
    Yup, I’m ranting about my email woes in your blog post … oops …

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