Doist, the company behind the popular task-management app Todoist, has launched Twist, a team messaging system designed to compete with Slack and Hipchat.

Twist takes a different approach to real-time team chat apps, aiming to provide a kind of cross between chat and email …

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Using the strapline ‘mindful team communication,’ Twist claims to offer a ‘calmer, more organised’ way for people to collaborate.

Instead of a continuous stream of comments, all Twist discussions take place in threads – like emails or bulletin-board discussions. In fact, TechCrunch notes that the process of beginning a new discussion is very much like sending an email.

The compose screen looks like you’re writing a new email. It’s nothing like sending a message in Slack. You have to name your thread, you can easily write multiple paragraphs, you can attach files and you can notify some or all members of the current channel.

Because you can’t have a discussion outside of a thread, everything is more organized. But the company recognizes that sometimes you need the immediacy of real-time chat, so direct messages can be sent to individuals or multiple coworkers, and these work like conventional chat apps.

One other nice touch for those who feel just a bit too connected to their coworkers: you can set a timeout, whether for a break or vacation, and everyone can see you are unavailable for the stated time period, and you don’t receive any notifications during this time.

The app doesn’t have the wide range of third-party integrations offered by Slack and Hipchat, but it does integrate with GitHub, Zapier and – of course – Todoist.

Twist is free to use with a one-month searchable archive of messages, or $5/user/month for permanent archiving of discussions, making it a little cheaper than its established rivals. You can see an overview in the two-minute video below.

If you decide to try it out, you can download the free iOS and Mac apps.

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