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How will we talk!? A Reflection on The Slack Outage of 2018

June 27, 2018 Ashton Adair


This morning the internet was 1000% quieter. That’s right, if you haven’t heard already, there was a Slack global outage, and it was, and still is, mass chaos. Even as I write, some of our team members can access the tool now, but others are still not able to connect. In this time of distress, it’s when we reflect on how much technology has changed the workplace culture, and especially for our biggest reliance, communication. 

SOS! Slack is Down!

On Wednesdays, all three of our locations work remotely, and we use Slack by the second to call one another, chat about our objectives, communicate priorities, and most importantly, keep agile conversations going about our deliverables. I represent our Human Resources and Culture function at Mojo Media Labs, and by 8:30 am this morning I had texts and emails galore from our team members on how to handle the day without Slack… How will we talk to one another? (Don’t stop reading this blog :), but be sure to go back and check out this hilarious article from Mashable, “Slack is Down and I talked to my Colleagues… Face-to-Face.”)

The Freak Out & The Solution

So, cliffhanger, what did we do?!? I quickly sifted through messages:  “Slack down,” “I need so & so’s cell,” “We can’t talk to the Dallas team, and we’re sad! :-(.“ It’s so funny that in years of working together, some of us do not have each other’s cell phone numbers as we simply utilize the Slack app to communicate. This inspired an impromptu group text so that I could connect our delivery team to crowdsource partner numbers, client numbers, and, yes, each others’ (I couldn't fit all our team members on one text!). We had to brainstorm how to communicate: “How about text?,” “How about clearing the dust off of relics like the telephone and email for internal communication?,” “Hey, remember that thing called Google Hangouts Chat, is that still a thing?,” “Oh yeah, thank you, Morgan, for making a Staff Directory!” “I can still get in somehow, I will be the go between!”


The Aftermath & The Reflection

Slack-down-Slack-wide-outage-mojo-media-labsIn all seriousness, when things like this occur, it throws a wrench in your day and makes you stop and realize just how much we rely on technology. It is crazy how we’ve evolved from in person offices with methods like fax, memos, traveling to locations, and then to the high-tech invention of email, to what seems like an overnight shift to remote team members, video conferencing, real-time chat, “the cloud,” and multiple locations with hardly any kinks in communication.  

With that said, especially for an organization like ours where Conscious Collaboration is a core value for a reason, contingency plans are nice when there are technology outages. Do you have your files backed up? Does anyone outside of HR have everyone’s phone numbers? Do you have a staff directory accessible by the team? Do your millennials know what email is?

How has technology changed the culture of communication and how your team interacts within your organization? Let us know in the comments! Did you experience a Slack-wide-outage office panic? Tell us your story!

I’m now off to consider some additional team building events because I’m nervous we’re going to turn into robots if we don’t hang out more… I will also start appreciating Slack more, and will try to refrain from using the phrase, “My day was eaten by Slack Attacks."

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