Finally. Slack has just released threaded messaging, a way to connect related messages within a chatroom.
It seems like a pretty simple update, but it took two years to create; this launch marks the fourth iteration of how Slack imagines threads could work. Rosania says it may not make sense for every channel to have threads in it. But he also thinks there could be new and creative use cases for them. Within Slack itself, some engineers have used threaded messaging to track the various bugs reported to the company. If a coder had particular expertise in resolving a certain kind of bug, that team member could respond directly (or ping the right person) without interrupting the larger flow of discussion. With threads, Slack users can also scroll past multiple topics to find the ones most relevant to them, cutting down on the time needed to find messages in a more free-flowing chat.
Aside from its practical application in the workplace, threaded messaging is a reminder that while Slack is still by far the buzziest of productivity apps at the moment, it’s under tremendous pressure to keep innovating. Nine-year-old note-taking app Evernote just rolled out a major reboot of its app, and is eyeing an AI-powered future. Tech giant Salesforce agreed to purchase productivity powerhouse Quip last summer. Not to mention, one of the main things threaded messages seems to want to accomplish—tracking the progress of several projects—is the very premise of the popular to-do app Trello.
Threaded messages alone won’t fend off the competition, but it’s another feature Slack can boast about. More importantly, it can evolve along with its users. “We expect that threads will reveal more about how Slack can be used in the workplace to be productive,” Rosania says. In the meantime, at the very least, threads should at least help WIRED’s cookie fans accomplish the stated motto of the channel. Heck, maybe we’ll branch out into sharing recipes next.