Starting today, Slack is enabling Connect DM, allowing users to send direct messages to anyone, not just those in their channels.
Connect DMs are an evolution of Connect, Slack’s feature to allow companies to set up cross-organization channels. Connect allows employees from different companies to easily communicate with one another. Connect DM builds on that feature by allowing Slack users to communicate with any other Slack users.
In many ways, the feature is designed to help Slack better compete with Microsoft Teams. Despite being an early leader and pioneer in the field, Slack has been eclipsed by Teams, especially during the pandemic. Late last year, Salesforce announced it was acquiring Slack, in a move widely seen as helping the two companies better compete with Microsoft.
In addition to better competing with Teams, Slack’s Connect DM helps make the service more integral to a company’s communication. Rather than relying on outside services, such as text, iMessage, WhatsApp or others, Connect DM allows users to communicate easily, while still maintaining a record of the communication.
“You could put a link on your Twitter profile or a QR code on your business card that people could use to connect with you,” Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told The Verge in an interview last October when the feature was first announced.
“It works essentially like BlackBerry messaging, so that link is the equivalent of me giving you my BlackBerry PIN but when you message me I still have to approve you,” says Butterfield.
The new feature should help Slack in its rivalry with Teams, and eliminate a major pain point for its users.