“As Bad as PowerPoint”

14 July 2007 at 9:36 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

The ubiquitous PowerPoint, discussed frequently on these pages (1, 2, 3), is becoming a metaphor for casual or perfunctory thought, word, and deed. I noticed this passage in a (mostly negative) review of the new Harry Potter movie:

[Screenwriter] Goldenberg has succeeded in condensing the book into the film equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation, bouncing from incident to incident without anything amounting to much, while [director] Yates can’t rise above the material he’s been given, seemingly missing the emotional point of some crucial scenes and just clicking for the next slide to come up.

What a great addition to the urban dictionary! “I’m worried about Bob. He seems so aimless, going through life just clicking for the next slide to come up.”

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chihmao Hsieh  |  14 July 2007 at 2:22 pm

    When I saw the headline, I thought we were talking about the operation of Powerpoint. And while Powerpoint presentations can sometimes seem useless, I’d like to speak to what I perceive as a terrible layout of the new MS Word Vista. Egads. Talk about justifying a new version!

    If anybody else has that kind of headache adjusting to Word Vista’s user interface, I *strongly* suggest getting the fully functional version of OpenOffice. It’s old-school interface, open-source, virtually fully compatible with all MS Office, and best of all, totally free! (www.openoffice.org)

    (Full disclosure: I’m not affiliated with either firm or software package!)

  • 2. jonfernquest  |  17 July 2007 at 1:11 am

    IMHO When teaching presentation skills the biggest problem is to get the students out in front and interacting with their audience and not hiding behind the powerpoint slides, clicking them and mumbling a few incoherent words. Powerpoint’s an essential skill to have, along with reducing Excel data to charts and graphics, but students have to be continually reminded that it’s not an end in itself, only support for writing with well-worked out ideas. The same goes for “e-learning.” Even though I worked as a computer professional for years, I loath these words that often mask a paucity of thought.

  • 3. spostrel  |  29 July 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Powerpoint isn’t really worse than the old transparencies, and I say that as a late and reluctant adopter. The key is to get the right amount of stuff on a slide, get the outline level right for the significance of the point, and manage your transitions. If you really do it well, you can syncopate your oral remarks with the items appearing on the screen, sucking in the audience to wonder what’s coming next. But that takes a lot of work and preparation.

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