Here’s how it works. Let’s say that your colleague dropped a Simpsons-yellow Flexed Biceps emoji on a Slack message celebrating someone’s huge accomplishment. If your default skin tone for emoji in Slack is a dark skin tone, and you mash that Simpsons-yellow Flexed Biceps emoji reaction, a dark skin tone emoji will show up alongside the yellow one and your reaction will be added to the total count.
My editors have allowed me to post this highly secretive message from our internal Slack so you can get an idea of how the grouped emoji reactions look like in practice:
I’ve seen emoji reaction groups today with four different skin tones represented, so the feature presumably can group all six of the skin tone options available.
This small change is a huge boon for inclusivity, in my opinion. Now, instead of having to pick between clicking an emoji reaction that doesn’t match your preferred skin tone or adding a new one that better represents you, you can just punch an emoji reaction, no matter the skin tones that are already there, and know that you’ll see yourself represented.
“We believe the future of work must be inclusive as it is critical to our success and that of our customers,” Slack said in a statement. “This update to how emoji appear under messages is part of our ongoing effort to help our customers express themselves in ways that feel most authentic to their experience. Diversity, engagement and belonging are core to our company values and we are committed to ensuring that our product reflects that.”