PowerPoint alone doesn’t cut it anymore. We are too social and interconnected now. Sure, we still see projected presentations at conferences and in lecture halls, but audiences are demanding more interactivity, and Twitter feeds aren’t cutting it.
Webinar tools were a start to interactive presentations. WebEx, GoToMeeting, and such, allow people to see presentations anywhere and to interact in basic ways such as asking questions and taking polls. But, they cater to businesses and require people to be at their computers.
Consumer tools, like SlideShare, have made inroads by allowing more people to share presentations in many different settings including mobile devices, but the interactivity is missing. I personally use SlideShark because it allows projection from the iPad, but, again, there is no interactivity.
I just read an article in VentureBeat about a new company launched at DEMO Fall 2012 called Prezentarium. Prezentarium claims to be a social presentation and online education tool. The product is not yet available to the general public, but the website indicates it allows presenters to share with the audience on any device and to socially interact with the audience. It allows the audience to socially interact with the speaker (comment, ask questions) and share the presentation content with their own social networks.
This recent news brings to the forefront of my mind how much presentation technology has changed. Poking around the web, I found this old article from Mashable “ONLINE PRESENTATIONS: 30+ Presentation & Slideshow Services.” I honestly wasn’t aware there were so many options back in 2007. Many of the companies have died or been acquired, but some are still going strong.
The options today seem to each have a benefit, but none have all that is needed.
Teaching at San Francisco State University, the most popular tool among my students is Prezi. “Mastering Prezi for Business Presentations” by Russell Anderson-Williams, was just published and, of course, there is a PreziBook for you to view. Prezi has the benefit of allowing co-creation and the unique zoom picture that has the potential of changing the linear structure of presentations. Though, honestly most Prezi presentations I have seen are still a string of data hung together, just like PowerPoint.
Also focused on the creation side is SlideRocket. SlideRocket has the benefit of co-creation and storage of pieces of presentations that can be used by many within an organization. Some clients of mine have found that feature very helpful, especially for outward facing marketing and sales teams who need to adjust a presentation often to fit different audiences.
Is the newcomer Prezentarium the answer?
Prezentarium compares itself to SlideShare, Prezi, and IdeaFlight in its presentation at DEMO, highlighting the addition of audience interaction and viral distribution.
I can imagine the benefit of socially interacting with the audience within the same tool as the presentation. It would be much more streamlined than PowerPoint with a Twitter feed. I can also imagine the benefit of taping into existing social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to distribute content – instead of through a presentation-only network. What it lacks is tools to collaboratively create and manage the presentation. So, Prezentarium still falls short of having it all.
We don’t yet have our answer. But, we probably won’t have to wait long. One of the larger companies could acquire a couple of these smaller players and we could have a solution that allows you to co-create, manage, project, interact, and socially distribute presentations.
Then, in this age of sharing, we could use one tool to share in creation, share in viewing, share in feedback, and share through social networks.