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.