Letter from a Board Member

Introducing UVRC Slack

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

Hello UVRC!

I bring you some exciting news! We’ve been talking in the background for a while about ways we can help our members connect and be more social as a community of runners. Well, a platform that some of our lovely members have been using so far (that has worked tremendously well) is Slack! That’s right y’all we’re moving into the 21st century and we’re making an Upper Valley Running Club Slack channel! Actually, it’s already been made but now we are expanding it!

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Slack was originally created as a workplace teams communication platform that allows for groups of people to communicate on specific topics, share data, and collaborate. But people realized that its functionality really doesn’t have to be just a workplace thing and lots of groups and clubs use it as a communication space for their members.

Slack functions like a near-live message board. It is divided into “channels”, each of which has a different theme, subject matter, or discussion topic. As you can see in the screenshot from my phone below, the channels relate to running activities, community events, and general happenings. 

From there it’s just like texting except you text the channel and anyone who is on the same channel can see it. You can also only be on the channels you are interested in so you don’t get a bunch of stuff that is not relevant to you. However, unlike text chains, you can reply directly to one message and create a conversation "thread" so you don’t have to worry about your original message getting lost in the deluge. You can also @ people which is a way of drawing specific people’s attention to your message. The Slack platform also lets you do direct messaging and group messaging that you’re probably familiar with from using a standard cell phone. There are a bunch of other neat little tricks but I think they are better explained in this video: https://youtu.be/RRxQQxiM7AA.

Now I can hear some of you saying; “ugh not another app” or “I’m not tech-savvy enough to use a new thing”. PAH! I say to both of those! If you can send an email or a text message, you can use Slack. But I do appreciate that new things can be intimidating; I do not understand Tiktok for example! And don’t worry, the intent of this is not to replace our club email so you won’t be left out of the loop if you don’t download Slack. The intent is to facilitate communication amongst our members without the clunkiness of our mass email list. For example; let’s say it’s a beautiful day and you are thinking of doing a little run in Norwich. But you don’t want to go by yourself so what do you do? Well, you could go to the Slack channel specifically for “group runs” and shoot out a message asking people if they would like to come. Or let’s say you want to go to a Tuesday Night Track workout but you’re worried there won’t be anyone running your pace. Well, you could message the Tuesday Night Track channel and try to find a buddy, you might even find that people who weren’t going to go for the same reason but will show up because you are! You could also use it to find training partners, talk to other people about injury prevention, or share events that are happening in the community like the Lebanon Farmer’s Market! 

Because I’d like to think, Fam, that while we are not just united by our common interest of running, that we are actually a community of friends who are trying to connect with one another. Say what you will about the abundance of time we spend on our phones as a society, but at least with Slack we can utilize it as an additional means to gather and hang out in the physical plane and also make new friends and keep in touch when we aren’t running. I think it will be especially helpful in finding people who have similar levels of running to yourself which I know can be difficult or intimidating in the larger group.

There are of course a few rules though nothing that should surprise you. Like all of our club spaces both digital and physical, Slack is to be one of respect and courtesy. I won’t go into all the minutia of what you can and cannot say but in general follow the golden rule; “don’t be a jerk”. And do not use the space for profitable gain. *Some* exceptions can be made but only with prior consent from the admins.

But if all that sounds good to you, you can download Slack on Android, Google, and Apple phones and it also has a web browser version: https://slack.com/ .

Our specific Slack channel can be accessed with the following link: https://join.slack.com/t/uppervalleyrunclub/shared_invite/zt-170qgj61g-sO9xpcPHglswde74BmQkHA\.

I also volunteer myself as tribute if you have any questions or difficulties!

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