Use Slack? This bot can give you a bunch of handy metrics

Now in beta, Slackalytics promises new insight on the dimensions of your choice

Slack claims some 300,000 paid seats among the million-plus users of its popular real-time messaging app for teams, but it's a pretty safe bet that few of the companies paying for the service have a detailed understanding of how their users are putting it to work. Enter Slackalytics, a new textual analysis bot that promises a wealth of insight.

Designed to go beyond the metrics offered by Slack itself out of the box, Slackalytics is a "simple, open source bot for analyzing Slack messages," in the words of its creators, Nico Miceli, a Google Developer Expert for Google Analytics, and developer Joe Zeoli.

"When my team started using Slack, I wanted to get the stats," wrote Miceli, who is also a technical analytics consultant with Team Demystified, in a blog post on Tuesday. "Which clients are contacting us most frequently? When are [they] contacting us? More importantly, who on our team is the wordiest and uses the most emojis?"

Now in beta, the tool uses the Slack Real Time Messaging API to examine messages from Slack using textual analysis, including counting the occurrences of specific instances of words and symbols. Specifically, Slackalytics currently focuses on six metrics: word count, letter count, emoji count, exclamation count, question count and ellipses count.

Then, using the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol, it can send the data to a Google Analytics account. There, company administrators can visualize and analyze it within the standard user interface or using the Google Analytics Core Reporting API. Miceli likes to export it to a spreadsheet using the Google Analytics Spreadsheets Add-on, he said.

Built in node.js, Slackalytics is open source, so any developer can build a customized version by forking the project on GitHub and adding metrics to his or her heart's content. It's not limited just to Slack, either; rather, the bot can be used with any communication app that has a real-time API, Miceli said.

Alternatively, Miceli has also published a detailed walk-through to help non-developers set up their own versions.

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