When Sharing a Confluence Page Isn't the Best Option

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As Confluence users, you know the situation: You create a new page and now you want to get your team involved to have them contribute, give feedback, or just to let them know.

You could share the page using the Share button (that's what it's there for, right?), comment with @-mentions, or send a direct link to the page via synchronous communication channels like Slack. 

With so many ways to get your team's attention, which one should you use? This article outlines the best ways to get your team involved and engaged in Confluence and when to use which. Heads up: The handy 'Share' button isn't always the best choice! 

The Share Button

The Share button sits in the top right-hand corner of every Confluence page, and is the most obvious choice to share content. It's easy: click on Share, enter the team members (or groups) you want to inform, add a message, and hit send.

Using the Share button makes sense in two situations:

  • when you want to inform your team members about a page and you want them to read it.

  • when you want team members to edit the page.

In both cases, your aim is to notify your team members that they should do something: Read or edit the page.

So how does this differ from the other options? 

Comment With @-Mentions

Every time you want to engage your coworkers in a conversation about a page and encourage feedback and comments, the Share button is not the best choice. Here's why.

When you share a page, think about that experience from the perspective of your team. The team member receives a message with your thoughts, questions or instructions about how or what they should provide feedback on. But when they want to provide that feedback – how or where should they do so?

They need to find a way to respond to your message on their own. It doesn't make sense to reply to the email notification, so they have to take an approach that feels best for them in that moment. A page comment? Maybe inline comments? Maybe send you a Slack message? Without some kind of direction, you're looking at a mixed bag of feedback methods which won't work well for you or for your team.

So, when asking for feedback, this is what you should do: Create a comment on the page that contains your message and @-mention the teammates you want to involve. They'll still receive a notification, but now they can also respond to your instructions in the right way. What's more, other team members who later read the comments will better understand what was discussed and which decisions were made.

For more best practices around commenting and feedback, here are some Must-Knows About Comments in Confluence.

Share as a Slack Message

Sharing a page or commenting with an @-mention is a very asynchronous way of getting coworkers involved due to the reaction time. Many people check their emails only once or twice a day, and you may have to wait for a couple hours. To get your team members involved more quickly, you can use another channel – like Slack – to inform your coworkers in a more synchronous way. 

Before determining whether a Slack message is the way to go, it's important to understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication – and the gray area in between. 

  • Synchronous Communication: Two or more people exchanging information at the same time. For example: phone calls, meetings, Zoom calls, collaborative editing on a Confluence page, etc. Synchronous communication has the advantage that it can be quicker because it is more interactive.
  • Asynchronous Communication: Refers to the exchange of data between two or more parties without the need for all the recipients to respond immediately. Emails are asynchronous, for example. Asynchronous communication has the benefit that your communication isn't disruptive of your team's immediate workflow. 

In between purely synchronous or asynchronous communication is a gray area, or rather a spectrum between the two extremes. The best example here is Slack.

Slack is actually an asynchronous communication tool, but it's often used in a synchronous way when users send messages and expect the recipients to answer right away, or if messages are sent back and forth quickly.

When you need to involve your team members more quickly, use a channel like Slack. But key word here is 'need' as this shouldn't be your share option by default.

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Beware: If your Slack messages contain too much information, you can easily find yourself in long, threaded conversations where feedback and decisions are easily lost in Slack.

If you decide to take the synchronous route by sharing in Slack, you should still create a Confluence page with more details and encourage any interaction or feedback to be left on that page. Slack should be seen as the more urgent notification channel, not as the primary medium for conversation or discussion.