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Laura works in ad sales at a well-known tech company.
Her office uses Slack, which is likely either as integral to your workday as email or you have never heard of it before.
For better or worse, it makes work life more like digital life, albeit a digital life where you can also smell what everyone else is eating for lunch.
The question is, what does this intrusion do to the delicate diplomacy of office life?
At some point over the last year, it started to feel, at least in a certain kind of office, as ubiquitous as those other social-media giants.
One day last summer, a saleswoman was looking for a conversation she’d had with an account manager, so she typed her own name in Slack’s search bar.
She found a public Slack channel, says Laura (not her real name).
Like Facebook or Twitter, Slack induces the same anxious, attention-hungry rhythm in its users, the same need to endlessly refresh, and gives off the same illusion of intimacy in an ultimately public space.
It also makes the line between work and not-work blurrier than ever — the constant scroll of maybe-relevant chatter in your chosen Slack channels registers at times like the background noise of any other newsfeed.
You can drop in and out of chat channels as the day goes on, or, if you’re a member of a particularly active channel, you might spend all day there, reading through the scroll.