Social computing in 22 seconds

Here’s a 22-second run through of a recent presentation I created on ‘New Technologies’ – ie social software/web services etc.


I used images and everyday activities in order to build rapid bridges between the audience and the technologies. (The presentation slot was 35 minutes.) It also meant that the content and audience engagement could be flexible. I’m guessing here, but I suspect that most new developments could be slotted into the structure fairly easily.

It took a long while to prepare and it seems a shame to have given it only one outing. A friend suggested making it into a YouTube movie, but it would be fossilised in time. Not sure whether it’s a good idea or not.

Any thoughts?


A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on a fearsomely complicated subject. Words and bullet points wouldn’t do justice to the topic, so I decided on a sequence of captioned images.

Apart from the presentation, the slides were required for publication. I sent them off and warned the organiser that he might be somewhat shocked by my approach. He decided it would not be appropriate for the proceedings, not least because it would diminish the shock factor, when I delivered the presentation.

This made me wonder whether PowerPoint presentations have two conflicting purposes. One for posterity and the other for the gig itself. These are in conflict. If you try and combine them, you doom your audience to the well-known ‘death by PowerPoint’.

Blow me down if a story didn’t appear in some of today’s newspapers which explains the phenomenon. The Daily Mail and The Telegraph (at least) carry quotes from University of New South Wales’ Emeritus Professor John Sweller. This is the man who developed the Cognitive Load Theory in the 1980’s. Crudeley stated, he advises us that the brain cannot process textual and verbal inputs concurrently.

So now you know.

(By the way, you might be interested to know that this story started its journey to the mainstream media on 23rd March, but I bet you the mainstream media picked it up secondhand from blogs or from Guy Kewney’s piece in The Register.)

SlideShare : is there any point?

SlideShare is a place where you can share your presentation slides (PowerPoint, OpenOffice and pdf).

As an experiment, I put up the OPML set that I used at the recent Online Information Conference.

Normally, when I use slides, they are very unlikely to convey anything but hints at the presentation content. The OPML presentation was a rare exception. I added a couple of words and it became more or less free-standing.

If I’m teaching, the slides are a merely a backdrop to a proper engagement with the delegates. They provide focus during, and an aide memoire after, the event.

I guess it depends how creative you are with slides and how comprehensive. The more of the former and the less of the latter, the more value they’ll lose by being isolated from the speaker.