Looking to break out of a "messy" email situation, the nonprofit group dosomething.org recently switched over to a new way of communicating among its far-flung teams, Phys.org reports.


Moving most internal communications to the messaging application Slack with its "channels" for various teams made it easier to coordinate the group's social change projects across 131 countries, said software engineer Joe Kent.


"All the teams have their channels and anyone can jump in and see what the others are doing," Kent told AFP. "You can follow the conversation a lot more quickly."


Slack, created in 2013, has become a leader in a crowded field of new applications aimed at helping workplaces move away from email.


Facebook this month jumped headlong into this segment with its Workplace application, aiming to leverage the popularity of the leading social network used by some 1.7 billion people.


Facebook is among an array of competitors vying for a slice of this market, including several startups and Microsoft.


San Francisco-based Slack has raised some $500 million at a reported valuation of some $4 billion, making it one of the most prominent venture-funded tech "unicorns" worth over $1 billion.


With some three million active users, including nearly one million paying for "premium" service, Slack has become one of the fastest-growing business applications.


Craig Le Clair of Forrester Research said these services are growing because younger "millennials" have different ways of working.


"They want to work when they want to, they want chat sessions that better integrate with their social media lives," Le Clair said.


Le Clair said many workplaces are facing "information overload" due to the volume of emails that need to be sorted and prioritized.

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