Best of 2017: 30 Web Apps and Software Trends That Ruled the Workplace
New App: Limit Interruptions with a Mindful Team Communication App, Twist
Team chat promised to replace our email inboxes with something better—a real-time connection to our colleagues. Instead of having to think of a message subject, type out a full email, and wait for a reply, we could pop into a
#general channel, ask a quick question, and get a reply in seconds.
That is great. It also comes with a downside, though, of always needing to be ready to reply whenever anyone posts a message. Unlike your email inbox that you could ignore for a few hours, team chat demands your attention. If you're not watching it closely, an interesting conversation might quickly get hidden underneath everything else that's posted afterwards, and you'll be left out of the loop. Team chat has made remote work much easier—and yet, you often have to read through dozens of messages each morning to keep up with what's happening.
Twist, a new team chat app from the team that built Todoist, is a new take on team chat that's designed to be more productive and less distracting. It does that by removing chat.
Instead of an endless stream of messages about everything imaginable, Twist breaks all conversations up into threads. You'll start by adding channels—much as you would in Slack or other chat apps—to organize conversations by team or topic. Instead of a chat box to start talking as soon as you start a channel, Twist shows a Start a new thread button. Tap that to start a conversation. Enter a topic, select who to notify (by default, Twist will notify everyone in that channel), and enter your first message. And that's when you can start chatting. Inside that thread, you can discuss your initial post with your team, replying to messages and reacting with a set of emojis. You can even email info to the group, with a custom address per thread as an easy way to share notifications or newsletters with your team.
Say you need to discuss today's blog post with your Marketing team. You'll open the #Marketing channel, start a new thread about the post, and talk about it there. That reminds you that you needed to share details about your last marketing campaign—so you'll scroll down to that thread, and add the details there. It keeps everything organized, while still letting you discuss everything with your team.
Now, everything doesn't need its own thread. Sometimes you just want to ping your teammate and see how the day's going—or need to plan lunch after coworking with 2 other colleagues. That's where the Messages tab comes in. It's a more standard chat app where you can direct message anyone on your team or start a private group chat. When those types of conversations are going on, odds are everyone talking are online and focused on the chat right then—no threads needed. But when you want to share something with your whole team, threads make more sense. They keep things organized, easy to browse by conversation and catch up on after you've been away.
Speaking of such, Twist can help keep work away when you're out of office. From its Time off settings, you can tell Twist when you're on vacation or away for the day—and when you'll be back. It'll add your out of office reason to your name so others will know why you're not responding, and will not send you any notifications until you're scheduled to come back.
Twist can also help you get work done. As part of the Doist family of apps, Twist is deeply integrated with Todoist. Tap the Todoist icon in any thread or beside any message to turn it into a task, complete with a due date and other details, without leaving your chat. In Todoist, you can click on a task to open its original conversation in Twist and remind yourself about what was discussed.
Whether you're looking for a better way to chat with your team in an organized manner, or want a chat tool that helps you remember to followup on tasks, Twist is a unique take on team communications. It's a bit more like email than traditional chat, so you can easily step away from chat and still catch up easily when you come back.