Is Getting Involved in a Slack Community Worth Your Time?

March 16, 2016

Everybody has a finite amount of productive hours each day. Whether you’re a seasoned content marketer, an experienced developer, or Elon Musk.

Unfortunately for us mere humans, sleep is a necessity. Researchers are still trying to figure out the whole story when it comes to sleep and why we need it.

Researchers’ best guess is that our brains are busy keeping good brain connections while ditching unnecessary ones.

As a busy startup founder, content marketer, or back-end developer, ultimate productivity is a top priority. I’m pretty sure just like I have, you’ve scanned through hundreds of productivity articles hoping to find the answer.

Is there enough time to get involved in communities on Slack, forums, and social networks?

You’ve tracked your time, bought the red ticking tomato timer, and you’ve squeezed as much time as possible—but you can’t sustain it. Too many distractions, eh?

I average about 5.5 hours of focused coding per day. If I really really push hard, I can get to some 6.5, sometimes even 7.

Swizec, HackerNews

Everyone is desperate to achieve the ultimate productive life. A quick search on Quora reveals the topic ‘Productivity’ has a grand total of 10.8k questions and a whopping 151.6k followers.

People want answers to their Productivity problems

So why does this matter, and what does it have to do with content marketing?

Well, there’s a ton of content focused communities on Slack these days, and you’re probably part of a few (or you’ve at least given it some thought!). But if we’re all searching for our best productive-self, is there enough time to get involved in these Slack-based communities? Or is it just, err, Slacking?

Is it worth the cost in time, and how can you get the most out of it? How does a slack community change your productivity levels?

Slack the Time-suck

Slack has a slogan—”be less busy”.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the software. It’s expanded from being a place to chat about work with your teammates, into hundreds—if not *thousands*—of communities based on startups, niches, and other online communities.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing–far from it. Throw that image of me with a pitchfork out of your mind. I think Slack is a wonderful tool if used properly.

The thing is, it’s easy to get distracted by the notifications, the giant red dot, and the irritating ==@channel== alerts (it’s totally annoying). Like any online community, to be ‘in’ you have to be chirping away.

My Slack Icon Always Looks Like This

Seeing this all the time? Me too!

You have to take the time to chat with people, butt yourself into conversations, and be as helpful as you can. This is a time-suck, and I’ve tried but failed to muscle my way into the ‘in’ crowd. I got bored trying, bored typing, and it didn’t seem worth the time to me.

I thought you were providing some relief from the torrential influx of messages, alerts, and notifications I was receiving on a daily basis. “Me + Slack = Fewer distractions and more productivity,” I thought at the time. I have to say, though, that I’ve since found it to be the opposite.

Samuel Hulick

With smaller communities it’s easier but less fruitful. I prefer the smaller communities but I can’t say they ultimately benefit my content, just my personal life.

Trouble is if you’re looking to promote any sort of content and you’re not in the er… in-crowd it’ll go down badly. I’ve tried and I got told off.

Don't do this

Don’t try to promote your content too early.

I can understand why. Nobody wants people to come and go just so they can promote their content. It would be totally unreasonable.

For us content marketers, it’s painfully difficult to promote our content and not be criticized. If you’re not paying with money, you sure are paying with time and we all know that equals money anyway.

Right, so is it really worth it? If you’re looking for a place to promote your content, I’d give Slack communities a miss. It’s just not worth the time you need to put in to get the awesome results you want. That being said, it’s an awesome way to make some new pals, so if that’s what you’re looking for you should Slack away!