The danger of Slack

Slack is a wonderful communication tool, I love how easy it is to get in touch with my co-workers, but it is also a huge time suck which I have become slightly addicted to.  It is way to easy to start browsing through a channel, start checking on the pinned items (#living-vicariously, I’m looking at you), and then look up and realize that you have lost a hour of the prime working hours. When I first started my current position, I was so excited to have Slack.  It was absolutely verboden at my previous workplace, and my one experience was using it at a hackathon just for about 24 hours. It was so shiny, and packed to the brim with emoji’s, gifs and fun times.  Share your screen! Message! Share! For a while, I even had my laptop screen open with just Slack on that screen.  You only have so much attention and concentration to spread around, and my brain power was getting sucked into Slack channels.  I even had a couple weird Slack related dreams, and that is when you know you are spending waaaaaay to much time on it. It even felt a bit Circle to me at times, I related to a lot of parts of that book.

Now my getting down to business routine involves fully closing slack, muting other notifications, closing all unneeded chrome taps, and then putting in the headphones.  How do you focus? Is Slack a time suck for others or is it just me. Might just be my fear of missing out (FOMO) coming into play here too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Constructive procrastination or how to create your very own slack emoji

I learned new techniques and tools today, but they definitely aren’t very relevant for my job but they were fun to work on.  I just animated my first slack emoji today, and learned a ton in the process.  If you too would like to be the rockstar on your slack channel, buckle in and I will teach you how to do your own emoji.  First off you will need a photo editor, because I didn’t want to buy anything and it is an awesome piece of software, I went with GIMP.

For slack, the best emoji size is 128×128 pixels.  So open a new image that is 128×128, next you can add a background image or solid color.  I created a squee emoji that had scrolling text in it, so I went with a white background with scrolling magenta text. As you can see, this was a huge gap in my companies custom emojis’ and needed to remedied asap.

From there decide what you want it to do.  I went with scrolling because that seemed easy.  Each of your layers is a different part of animation.  So with scrolling, each layer moves it slightly to the left.  You could do confetti or colors and then each of the layers is the movement.  To check what it looks like, go to Filters > Animation > Playback … This will show you what your animation will be.  Once you are happy with the look then use Filter > Animation > Optimize (for GIF) and then export as a GIF image.  For more detailed instruction check out this awesome tutorial from GIMP.org . Now you are ready to upload it and use on slack, if you need some help in that department, check out Slack’s help guide.