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The Presentation File != The Presentation (and 3D Foolishness)

As I follow links and burrow around presentations on places like Slideshare its invigorating that a lot of people are embracing a more visual presentations style, where in fact a lot of the sones you see are all images, nary a bullet point to be seen.

There is, however, a pitfall. On its own, these “shared” presentations are rather useless pieces of information, because they are just a bunch if picture flip cards. Seveal times last week, I looked at a few that came my way via twitter or RSS, and if this was all I had to go in terms of information, I have no idea what the message is, what is being presented. I can infer, maybe guess, but….

The presentation file is not the presentation w/o something more contextual.

So if you are sharing your presentations, my thoughts are:

  • Provide, links to notes, resources on a blogpost, wiki, etc; OR
  • If you are using the infermal PowerPoint, put notes, references, links in the slide notes- those automatically get imported to Slidehare (and how I wish and wish, and ask, and beg that when Slideshare published, they use some simple regex to make the URLs into links. It so damned easy to code); OR
  • Record your audio and sync it to make it a SlideCast; OR
  • Have someonbe video you speaking, and sync it with a tool such as Zentation or Vascmo which allow you to sync video to slides; OR
  • Go reall crazy and Ustream it and save it as an archive.

Yes it;s more work (not that much if you are PowerPointing, and notes may help you be more organized), but the value of your presentation goes up an order of magnitude (from near zero at least) by having some context for the pretty pictures.

I also am having this nagging gripe (well it is one among many) about Second Life. After being in world for 2+ years, and attending a lot of education events, I find myself floored by the irony that the way we share information in a 3d immersive world is rendering 2d images (slides) and lecturing to a passive audience sitting in nice neat rows. Isn’t this silly? or worse?

its time in 3D worlds to taek full advantage of a 3d presentation space, and to do more than be a monologue. If you want some exampels, check out these archives (recorded in Adobe Connect, so its not as smooth as the original experience) from the NMC Symposium on Mashups:

Kill the damn slideshows. I won’t even trot out the ‘2.0’ expression.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Hear, hear! I’ve been railing against SL-as-webcast-engine for awhile now. Nearly every session I’ve seen has been a video rendered on a wall, with people sitting nicely in chairs, chatting with each other. That adds NOTHING over the Acrobat Connect / Eluminate / QuickTime webcast, and actually detracts from the experience because you need to get a good seat, figure out how to centre it in your field of vision, and hold your head still so you can see the video. Oh, and you get to tune out the “tappity tappity” of your neighbours chatting, because you get to hear the “I’m writing chat text now” notification sound from everyone nearby.

    MUCH better to do that sort of thing on an old fashioned webcast. Bonus points for offering a chat backchannel. But SL isn’t the place for that kind of presentation.

    What really interests me is the stuff that Brian did with the live mashup moshpit. Or collaborative works such as the architecture students building together.

    Use SL (and other 3D metaverses) for what they’re good at – putting people together in an alternate universe where all laws of physics are suspended. Let them experiment with bending time and space and see what magic happens. Let them play with a connected mesh of avatars, constructing and manipulating “matter” at will. Leave the didactic slideshows for other venues.

  2. Yes, but the slide-share sharing is just a fact of transfer between media — a slide presentation is, in its native context, an aural/visual medium. Putting it up on slideshare is great, but it’s too much to ask of slideshare that it also carry to F2F aural media (which is why I’m right there with your about having somebody record you in-person). Slideshare strikes me as analagous to a transciprtion of an oral performance — it’s a sliver of the real thing, but shouldn’t be confused with the real thing. That’s probably just another way of expressing your point.

  3. Hey I like it when we say the same things. Its more of a reaction when someone says, “I just presented on XXxxxx at Yyyyyyy, here is my presentation… ” and the link goes to something that really has not much to it if you were not there.

    Oh well. Best we can do is model different behavior. Or bark at the moon.

  4. > I find myself floored by the irony that the way we share information in a 3d immersive world is rendering 2d images (slides) and lecturing to a passive audience sitting in nice neat rows. Isn’t this silly? or worse?

    Yes it’s silly! It’s incredibly silly! It represents a total lack of imagination.

  5. “Go reall crazy and Ustream it and save it as an archive.”
    Oh PLEASE DON’T!!!
    Do you realize how FRUSTRATING it is to viewers of uStreams to have to try to decipher what is going on on the screen behind the presenter. I have no desire to watch a presenter pace back and forth and point a screen that I cannot see.

    Much better to upload the presentation slides, number each slide, and then for each slide provide further resources in the form of your notes or links.

    But in reality, a presentation is really not a presentation w/o a presenter….so why bother uploading the presentation at all? Just provide a wiki with the information and better yet, make it editable so that others might add to the resources.

  6. Nancy, that is not a problem with uStream, its a problem with camera position. Generally a laptop mounted camera is not the way to go, a mounted camera that can be aimed is better.

    A wiki is certainly a way to go, but there is not a single “best” way. Many times the visuals are important, my point is that they dont stand on their own.

  7. Too funny. I was logging into your blog to tag it as a resource for a presentation. I’m creating it here I’m going to embed a widget with resources. All I have to do is tag my sites. For my presentation, I’m using a wiki. I’ll mostly be talking and sharing stories of connections. I’m trying to avoid doing a Web 2.0 show and tell. However, each story will feature some tools. I’m not going to run all of them, but the attendees can access them afterwards. I’m actually considering recording the stories with my audio recorder while I drive the 5 hours tomorrow. Then I can embed those on the page as well in case others want to use the site. Ooooo…if I use Utterz for the stories, other people from the stories can respond!

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