Power Arranger: Slack Alert!

Greetings, fellow power arrangers. Welcome to the fourth episode in a series of posts helping you navigate software tools to make your life as an event planner easier. My name is Jessica Small, Senior Program Manager at Elastic Communications & Events. I am a Power Arranger, and your host for this series!

In the first three episodes, we’ve covered the basics for setting up Trello and using it with your team, and we also introduced you to Slack. This episode, we are returning to Slack, and we will show you how to send notifications and recalling information within your Slack team.

This is where it’s “@”!

The ‘@’ symbol is a common function used in social media.  You may recognize it from applications such as Twitter and Instagram.  The concept is the same in Slack.

When you send a regular message in a channel, the channel name goes bold in the channel list indicating there is a message. Sometimes, you want to let someone specific know your message is for them, or you want the whole team to know there is an important message.

To target a message to a specific person in a channel you simply type “@username your message here”, and it will also send a notification to that person that you have sent the message.  This is different to a direct message as everyone else in the channel will see the message and notification.

If you would like to see everything that you have been @tagged in, you can press the “@” button in the top right hand side of Slack for a full list, grouped by channel.

Slack also has (3) important built in “@” notifications – “@channel”, “@here” and “@everyone” which can be used to trigger notifications for several team members at the same time.

  • @channel will send a notification to everyone in the channel regardless of whether they are online
  • @here will send a notification to everyone in the channel however only to those people who are currently active in Slack
  • @everyone notifies every member of your team, and this command can only be used in the #general team-wide channel

For conversations explicit to a channel, we suggest using @channel for urgent messages, otherwise use @here.  @everyone is really only for team emergencies.

Put A Pin In It

A well-loved Slack team will have a lot of channels and a lot of information and conversations. Sometimes you want to be able to keep important information close at hand, as well as make it available to new team members, etc.

You can do this by Pinning a message. Simply hover over the message you want to pin, click the 3-dots [ellipsis] button and select “Pin to this channel …”

When you do this it will show up in the channel summary window to the right hand side of Slack. Importantly, pinned items show up for all users.

You’re a Star

Sometimes you want to remember a particular message – perhaps to come back to it later, perhaps to save it as a favourite message.

To do this, you can “Star” a message. Simply hover over the message with your mouse, and click the star icon next to the user name and time the message was sent.

If you want to review your starred items later, simply click the star icon in the top right corner of Slack, and it will list them all in your summary window.

Power “Search”

Of course, if you did not ‘pin’ or ‘star’ something, Slack has a very powerful search function which allows you to find messages from across your team.

Simply type the words you want to find into the large search box at the top of Slack.

You will see that Slack helpfully gives you some additional options – for example, “from: team member”, “in channel” or “has: star”. Generally, you can search without these, but it is good to know you can add more specifics if your general search doesn’t find the message

Now you are really starting to use the power of Slack. You can create channels, send messages, get notifications, and find all of the things that are important to you.

Next time, we’ll combine the forces of Slack and Trello so you can become the ultimate Power-Arranger!

Jessica Small
Senior Program Manager
Elastic Communications & Events

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