Introduction to Level

Key Concepts

Level is a team communication platform designed from the ground up to promote deep work. It is a fundamentally different take on how to organize internal dialogue than the widely adopted paradigm of real-time chat.

Here are some high-level things you should know:

  1. Every conversation is a thread. In Level, you either compose a new Post within a Group to kick off a new discussion, or you reply to an existing Post to carry on the conversation. Posts are lightweight (e.g., there's no expectation to come up with a subject line like email), but this structure ensures that follow-up discussion stays appropriately grouped.
  2. Conversations are asynchronous-by-default. A vast majority of team communication is not so urgent that it warrants pulling people out of flow with a push notification. Instead of a barrage of push notifications, you have a curated inbox in Level. If two or more people happen to be online at the same time and chatting in a thread, Level will send those users real-time notifications.
  3. Only some conversations land in your inbox. Let's face it: it is neither possible nor desirable for any single person to know everything happening within a company. To even attempt that is stressful and futile. If you author a post or reply to one, you are auto-subscribed, and follow-up activity will kick it into your inbox. If someone loops you into another conversation with an @-mention, you'll become subscribed. You are still free to peruse other posts and jump into the discussion, but there is no inherent expectation to see everything.
  4. There is no continuous presence tracking. Since Level is asynchronous, there is no real need to know who is online all the time. In many cases, the online indicator (intentionally or not) becomes an "I am clocked in and working" symbol, which is fundamentally flawed. Work happens in many different forms and tethering yourself to your communication tool should not be the signifier that you are doing your job.

Creating a Space

Space in Level represents a company or organization. Once logged in, head to https://level.app/spaces/new to create a new space.

Inviting people to your Space

Click the "Invite People" link on the right-hand sidebar of your Inbox to get your unique invite link. Keep this link private between you and the specific people you wish to invite! (We will be adding more advanced invitation capabilities and controls).

Creating Groups

Before you can start conversing in Level, you need to establish some Groups. Groups are analogous to channels in chat. 

Groups can be used to organize conversations around:

  • Functional teams in your organization (e.g., Engineering, Marketing, Support)
  • Projects (e.g., Site Redesign)
  • Topics (e.g., Parents, Cool New Tech)

It is up to you how you decide to divvy things up! We recommend starting with team-based Groups and then adding more as needed. Groups are lightweight and can be used for long-running things or temporary topics.

Setting up Default Groups

If you have Groups that you would like to new members to automatically join (such as an "All Teams" group), head to the group Settings from the right-hand sidebar of the group and toggle on the "Add new members to this group by default" checkbox:

Joining a Group

By default, Groups are accessible to everyone in the space. (Private Groups are on the near-term horizon).

Joining a group means:

  • You will see Posts from that Group in your Activity stream
  • The Group will appear in your sidebar bookmarks (you can click the ribbon next to the group name to unbookmark it)
  • You may receive a periodic digest summary of activity from that group (feature still under development)

Being a member of a Group does not mean all posts from that Group flow into your inbox.

Starting conversations

All Posts must live in a Group. (The ability to message privately with folks 1-on-1 is under development.)

  • If you post a message in a group without @-mentioning anyone, then only you will be subscribed to the Post. Others may see it and respond if they peruse through their groups or their unified Activity feed. This is suitable for sharing general information that does not need follow-up from anyone in particular. (Note: We are planning to release an easily-skimmable Digest feature that summarizes these kinds of posts to help give them just the right amount of visibility without overwhelm.)
  • If you @-mention one or more people, they will be subscribed, and the Post will land in their inboxes. If you need to make sure that one or more specific people will see the Post, it is best to mention them explicitly.

The beauty of this model is that it requires you to be more deliberate about communicating what you need from your co-workers. 

Say you are a developer and have a question that is blocking your current stream of work. It makes perfect sense to post your question in the Development Group and @-mention the key person capable of unblocking the task. 

Someone else in the Group may end up seeing it and chiming in to help resolve the blocker sooner, but if that doesn't happen, the key person will undoubtedly see the question in their inbox the next time they pop into Level.

You can use Markdown syntax to format your posts and replies. To attach files, either drag-and-drop them onto the composer or paste them from the clipboard.

Finishing conversations

Posts start in a default Open state. Once the conversation is resolved, it is best practice to Mark as Resolved to clearly indicate the discussion is finished.

Managing your inbox

The Inbox helps you to keep track of conversations that need your attention. It's like a to-do list for your internal communication.

Here's how it works:

  • A Post appears in the To Do tab of your Inbox when two conditions are met:
    • You are subscribed to the Post, and 
    • Someone else interacts with the Post (e.g., replying to it).
  • You are automatically subscribed to a Post when:
    • You are the author,
    • You reply to the Post, or
    • Someone @-mentions you.
  • When you are finished interacting with a Post, you can:
    • Mark as Resolved if the conversation has reached a final resolution, or
    • Dismiss it from your Inbox if you are not ready to put an end to the discussion.
  • If new activity occurs on a Post that you have dismissed, it will move from the Dismissed tab back to the To Do tab.

As soon as you have finished following up with a conversation for the time being, we recommend you either Dismiss the Post or Mark as Resolved to keep your to-do list manageable. (When you Mark as Resolved, the Post is automatically dismissed from your Inbox). "Inbox Zero" is a worthy pursuit.