Saturday, 8 October 2011

Thing 17: Fight the PowerPoint


Prezi styles itself as the anti-PowerPoint. Where PowerPoint is linear, staid and conventional, Prezi is multi-directional, vibrant and innovative. Prezi enables its users to unleash their creativity and map their own narrative routes through their material. Prezi is sassy, attention-grabbing and, if I'm being honest, a teensy bit annoying. It's the Louie Spence of presentation software.

I've never seen a real-life Prezi presentation but I've viewed several online. To be fair, some of them are conceptually and visually arresting and some of them... not so much.

I created a Prezi account for this Thing but so far haven't played around with it much because:

  1. I don't have a particular subject I want to make a presentation about at the moment
  2. I don't have a spare 30 hours that @jessedee suggests is necessary to create a decent presentation (in You Suck at PowerPoint)
Also, if you have a free account then your work is automatically publicly available on the Prezi website, which makes me less inclined to fiddle around when I don't really know what I'm doing with it. I have nevertheless received an automated, unnecessarily chummy email from Prezi asking me if my experience using it so far has been "awesome, gnarly, or somewhere in between?" (Gnarly? Oh dear Lord...)

I probably will come back to wrestle with Prezi at some point. But sometimes I wonder if, when giving a spoken presentation, the most impressive and engaging thing you could do would be to simply stand up and talk, with no notes and no supporting materials. Not sure I would ever be brave enough to try that though.


In the past, I must have viewed dozens of presentations hosted on SlideShare without quite realising or investigating what it is. So now I have investigated and may well be consulting SlideShare much more frequently in the future, to see what people are talking and presenting about, to view presentations from events I wasn't able to attend, and to get inspiration (or more accurately, to nick ideas) for my own presentations.

I would just like to mention one minor point about the cpd23 blogpost for this Thing. In describing the reach and impact of SlideShare Ange states:
This is not your institutional repository, this is on the open web and can be discovered by a much wider and variable audience.
But most of the material in institutional repositories is also on the open web (where copyright and licensing terms allow) - repositories are indexed by Google and other search engines and anyone can search for and retrieve their contents from a web search. Admittedly not many institutional repositories will have the 55 million visitors a month that SlideShare claims, but a repository isn't - or shouldn't - be a place where content is locked away from users who don't belong to that institution - in fact, completely the opposite is the case, as one of their main roles is to make the research and publications of the institution's academic staff as widely available as possible. Oh, hang on, here's a presentation about the University of Lincoln's repository that I found on SlideShare and that serves as a good example of the role and aims of an institutional repository. 

Okay, end of repository-related pedantry. And, come to think of it, now I have a topic I can make a Prezi about...

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