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Slack outage was either stressful or delightfully freeing

Andy Uhler Jan 5, 2021
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Slack outage was either stressful or delightfully freeing

Andy Uhler Jan 5, 2021
Heard on:
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

For a few hours Monday, Slack, the popular messaging platform used by millions of people worldwide, was down, leading to a Twitter hashtag (#slackdown) and memes galore.

For some, the Slack outage seemed debilitating. For others, it was like a snow day for school kids — a nice little break.

Reports of the outage surfaced around 10 a.m. Eastern time. 

Software developer Peter Murray in Columbus, Ohio, noticed right away.

“My first inclination was to tell my teammates, ‘Oh, no, there’s a problem with Slack,’” he said. “And my place to do that would have been the Slack team for the company.”

Turns out slacking his team about Slack being down wasn’t going to work, so they reverted to email.

Jeremy Porter’s situation was a little different. He runs an IT management company in the St. Louis area with his deaf business partner.

“You know, for him to be able to communicate with our employees, we have to be in some type of a chat situation all the time,” Porter said.

His team hopped on Google chat.

Gary Sousa, a junior software developer in Phoenix, is pretty new to his current gig and said he gets a lot of guidance on Slack. And when it was down, he felt a sense of isolation.

“I just kind of went for a walk for about a half hour just to see if maybe Slack blew over and it’d be back by the time I got back, and it wasn’t,” Sousa said. “So I was like, ‘Oh, man, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.'”

But some found freedom.

The bad news was no work got done for an hour. The good news was no work got done for an hour.

Raghu Manavalan (former Marketplace producer)
@raghunotragu on Twitter, Jan. 5, 2021

Patrick Sheffield, a project manager in Tallahassee, said he felt some relief not being tethered to Slack on the first day back from vacation.

“It was kind of nice to have a couple-hour period in the middle of the day where the noise went down significantly,” he said.

By early afternoon Eastern time, Slack was coming back online. And that calming — or annoying — new-message alert could once again be heard across the land.

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