Collaboration solution for a podcast group

No need to reply if this is too far off-topic, but I tried to use Slack to organize around a podcast that three of us do. The basic idea was we could keep in one place, for each episode, topic lists, show notes, publishing materials, and communications. But I’ve never used Slack and gave up fairly quickly, as there was so much there I couldn’t figure out what to do about basics. Is this a suitable use for Slack, and is there a configuration tutorial somewhere that assumes I know nothing and yet won’t force me through having to learn a lot of unrelated material? (In the meantime we use AnyList for topic lists, and less than ideally use email/Messages for general communications).

Slack describes itself as being for “teams” so a trio of podcasters using it collaborate on their podcast sounds more appropriate than thousands of strangers in an affinity group chatting or extended families. Group chatting is Slack’s primary focus but it sounds like you have greater need for document sharing. It’s easy to drag and drop files or URLs to attach them to messages and if you click the “kabob menu” (three vertical dots) in the top right corner, you can browse and filter just files. Slack’s main organizing principle is the Channel, you could create a new channel for every show but each of you would need to join the channel to see the messages in it and because the channel list is alphabetical, you’d need to either regularly remove yourself from a channel, rename channels, or use a channel naming scheme that keeps newer episodes at the top; otherwise, you’ll have to scroll through the channel list to find newer ones.

Part of Slack’s appeal are the many options for integrating with other web apps but then you’re really using that other app to do the collaboration so why not use it directly? For instance, use a shared folder of documents on Google Drive (or another cloud storage that supports multiple people live editing); make a document for each show with a topics section and a show notes section. You can have a “future topics” document that can be added to for ideas not tied to a specific episode (when an idea is used, delete it from the doc or marked as used somehow). You can all contribute to the document bodies themselves but you can also use document comments to communicate with each other. You can add Google Drive as an app to Slack but that would just be to augment the notifications Google can do itself.

Trello is for making lists of cards on “boards.” It can be added as an app to Slack and I bet you can do a lot of actions just by typing commands in Slack; that may be appealing if you like to do everything by typing instead of drag 'n drop. You could have an “upcoming shows” board with a list of future topics, one card per topic, then have other lists for specific episodes, dragging topics from one list to another. Show notes for an episode might be written in the description of a single card (Trello uses Markdown formatting) or broken into multiple cards. You can comment on cards to communicate about them and Trello’s Activity sidebar can show chronological list of comments and actions performed on cards. I think the TidBITS crew uses Trello extensively.

So, since it sounds like collaborative document editing (including lists as documents) is your team’s primary need and your communication is probably primarily about those documents, Slack doesn’t seem like the best solution. But it could be an enhancement to the communication features of other services. It can also simply be a way to compartmentalize communications about the podcast, not getting them mixed up with email or texts about other topics with other people.

If you want to dig into this more, it’s probably best to start a new topic thread instead of continuing in this Slack for Families thread.

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@cwilcox is spot on—Slack is mostly about real-time chat, whereas what you’re looking for is more of a project management tool. I too would probably start with Trello, although several podcasts I’ve seen use Google Sheets. They tend to have one sheet that’s a long list of episodes and guests, and then an individual sheet for each show with show notes and URLs and the like.

The beauty of Trello is that it allows conversation within cards, so you can discuss a particular episode without having that conversation spill out into other episodes.

The main problem with Trello is that it’s not as widely used as Google Sheets, so if you were inviting guests in, they might have more trouble understanding what to do.

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Thanks very much both of you for this information! As a result I now understand Slack usages much better than before. I’m afraid I was viewing it as a cool new hammer and was looking around for nails. :slight_smile: . We’ve settled into our current workflow and this confirms I don’t need to further examine Slack for podcast collaboration.