Everybody are getting their knickers in a twist over the CCT (Current Cool Tool) on the Internet. That bad boy happens to be Slack. Used by businesses and groups all over the world, Slack has been called the Email Killer, able to wipe out your inbox with a single blow.
Well, I don’t think email needs to start quaking just yet, but Slack has huge potential to be a real game changer in how people communicate with one another. It also is a huge deal because you can set up bots to automate all of your frequent tasks. So if you are running a business, you can set up Slack and have bots carrying out the menial tasks 24/7 while you get on with more important things, like conquering the world.
Below are 14 bots you should think about installing in your Slack account. A couple are fun and light-hearted, but what’s an office without some laughter?
Swipes is a task and project management tool bot called Sofi. Here she is. Isn’t she a real looker?
You start by either downloading and installing the Swipes software for Windows or Mac. This will then put Sofi inside your Slack channel, and you can flirt with her there. Sofi’s sole task in life, her reason for living, is to help you with your tasks and projects.
She will assign tasks to teammates at your command. You can chat to your colleagues about those tasks and projects. When one is done, Sofi assigns the next one. And if anybody complains, she takes no crap from them. Don’t let those pretty looks deceive you.
Birdly is an expense management bot, and who doesn’t need one of those in a business?
The bot is called Bill (get it?), and he will take care of all your expenses and keep a running total in a spreadsheet in Google Drive. You can help him achieve this by sending him private messages with amounts, as well as uploading scans of receipts in image or PDF form.
If you haven’t given him anything to do in a while, he will pop up with a message asking if there is anything for him to do. So he’s quite a conscientious little fellow. He does demand a salary though — starting at $5 per user, per month. There’s a 30 day free trial first though, which is nice of him.
Oskar is a cute cuddly squirrel that claims to be your “Happiness Tracker” on Slack. With the long dark Winter nights coming up for us freelancers working from remote offices, a happy hippity-hoppity squirrel is just what we need to raise our spirits.
Every morning (or whenever you log into Slack for the first time — I’m a lunchtime man myself), Oskar will ask you how you are, based on a rating of between 1 and 5. If you say you’re fine, he’ll cyber-high-five you. If you say you’re feeling crap, he will let the other members of your team know, so they can all come to you in Slack
to call you a miserable git to cheer you up. You get the status updates from your other team members, and don’t think about ignoring him, because he will just keep asking. His silence can’t be bought with a couple of nuts.
Howdy is another bot which can help you run meetings, as well as team management. For example, you can give Howdy a set of questions to ask your team on a regular basis, such as “what are you working on?”, “when will it be finished?”, and “who wrote that rude comment about me on the bathroom stall?”
Basically Howdy asks your colleagues the things you need to know, collates the responses together, and delivers them to you in Slack to read over.
All work and no play makes Mark a dull boy. So, it’s brilliant that someone has made a Connect 4 bot. I used to play this all the time when I was a kid, and I should have known it would make its way online eventually.
It can be played in either a channel for all to see, or in a Direct Message if you want some privacy. Right now, the game has a spooky bent to it, having been Halloween and all. But that will probably disappear soon.
Concise and to the point. The Weather bot tells you the weather in any location you tell it. Being online freelancers though, we don’t go outside much, so this bot would only be of use to those strange mythical beings that “go outside” and experience a sensation called “fresh air” (whatever that is).
Nothing more to be said ab0ut this one. It tells the weather. The end. Simple and it works. The way all things should be.
Similarly simple, the YouTube bot embeds a YouTube video once you specify a search term. It will give you the first result it finds and embeds it in the Slack channel. Obviously the video needs to have embedding activated on YouTube for the embedding part to work. The video will appear “in-line” and you can play the video right there. Simples.
Now THIS is a good one — your very own psychotherapist on Slack. Working at a huge multinational company such as MakeUseOf can be extremely stressful. After all, that Ryan Dube is a real slave driver. He’s so demanding. So what MUO needs is its very own psychotherapist to take care of all their babbling mental wrecks (I’ll form the head of the queue).
Obviously Ellie doesn’t have a couch for you to lie on, so you need to lie on your own one. But she has two things definitely going for her. She’s a real looker, and she doesn’t charge a single dime for her services! Just make sure you’re talking to her in the Direct Message section and not in the channel, otherwise your colleagues are going to find out all about your uncontrollable lusts and desires.
Breezometer is not the sexiest bot on the block, but it would be useful for anyone who is germ-phobic, and walks around wearing a breathing mask over their nose and mouth. It tells you the quality of the air in any place on earth you specify. It gives you an overall score and then provides some recommendations (see the screenshot above for examples).
So a Caribbean beach may get a really good score with a recommendation to have a pool party, but a place like China for example could get a really bad score with a recommendation of “hold your breath!”. Scores and recommendations will vary.
Weldbot looks like just another meeting organizer and planner, but there’s one difference. It only works on a mobile phone. So you start Weldbot up on the mobile Slack app, and when someone asks you your availability for a meeting, Weldbot checks your calendar t0 see when you have space. It then presents a list of possible meeting times for you to choose from.
Out of Office is a simple bot with one function. When someone hails you on Slack, and you are not there, the person will be presented with your preset out-of-office message. Just like the email version. You can use it to provide colleagues with your current contact phone number, current location, when you will be back, etc.
A Slack channel isn’t a proper Slack channel unless it has its very own illegal gambling den (Ryan, are you listening?). What better way to unwind from the pressures of the day than sign over the deed to your home to pay your gambling debts to the little nerd working in the photocopier room? Always fear the quiet ones who pretend they don’t know how to play the game.
This is Scrumbot. Say hello to him. Scrumbot, say hello to the readers.
Scrumbot is another bot that will go round your team members and demand they tell him what they are doing. After all, we don’t want any slackers do we? Of course, Scrumbot will tell you that he collects status updates much better than his rivals.
Here’s the thing though. Scrumbot is a money-grabber. He demands $25 per month, after a 14 day free trial. If you don’t want to pay, you just need to get 5 friends to sign up and start using the service. Then you will get one year absolutely free.
All big companies have their own travel & corporate entertainment department. After all, someone needs to organize the flights and hotels for any employees going on business trips. Or the lavish dinners at Pizza Hut to wine and dine clients. Roomino is a bot that gives you instant travel information on flights, hotels, and restaurants.
Choose the one you want, and you will then be redirected to the Roomino website. There you will be provided with more information and a booking form. When you make the booking, Roomino gets an affiliate commission.
Which Bots Run Your Life?
These bots represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are so many more to choose from. So, tell us in the comments which Slack bots we missed that are absolutely essential to you.
Image Credit: friendly robot by Zmiter via Shutterstock