I changed my Slack notifications into hummus, but now I’m hungry for more

Did you know you can change the default notification sound on Slack? Maybe you did, but one of the options is not like the others – among the various jingles and drum noises you will find comic gold in the form of a British woman firmly pronouncing the word “hummus”.

This fun little feature from Slack won’t spare you the agonizing last hours of the workday, but it’s random enough to put a smile on your face every time a co-worker messages you asking for updates.

It should also be said that this is by no means a new feature that appeared on the popular messaging program, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly well known, and as the world’s biggest hummus fan (self -identified) which seems like a real shame to me.

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twitter user @charlottekennny is responsible for bringing this to my attention, and once the initial confusion passed, I did some research to see why this existed in the first place.

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It turns out to be a joke among Slack staff. In 2016, Slack employees reportedly fell in love with the way the company’s editorial director, Anna Pickard, pronounced the word “hummus” with her English accent. So they decided to immortalize it in the form of an MP3 file that can be used on the platform.

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It’s easy to replicate it on your own system if you want to try it yourself. Simply select your profile picture at the top right of the screen and select “Preferences”.

From there, you will come to the “Notifications” page where you can scroll down to the section called “Sound and Appearance”. There are two dropdowns for notification sounds, one for messages and another for huddles, so you can set them to different sounds to easily tell them apart while you’re working (Hummus is located at the very bottom).

Opinion: Slack should do it all

It’s a total gimmick, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I’d say it could be used as a valuable productivity tool if a few more developments are made.

Slack doesn’t currently support custom notification sounds, nor does it let you set a different notification for each channel you’re a part of, and that’s a real shame. However, you can customize a variety of other elements in Slack, from emojis and aliases to integrations, which can result in potentially transformational increased productivity or pure hilarity, depending on your taste. So why can’t we customize notifications?

As someone with anxiety, being able to set custom notifications that audibly indicate which channel I’m getting a ping on doesn’t just help keep stress levels from skyrocketing when you run to check if your manager wants to throw an immediate 1-2 -1 on you, but you can also prioritize urgent work without needing to check Slack every time a notification goes off.

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A good example would be if you are part of multiple channels, many of which are social oriented and a few more work oriented. If you receive a message in a channel that needs urgent attention, you can record a quick sound that says “urgent” so you know exactly when you need to focus on another task.

There are ways to record custom notification sounds, though the process isn’t officially supported and requires some technical know-how. It also doesn’t solve the restriction about setting different sounds for each channel, but hopefully that’s something Slack could look to introduce down the line.

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