According to Wikipedia, PowerPoint is 23 years old this year. In the last 23 years of my information-seeking, I cant remember any moment at which Ive thought What I really want is to see a PowerPoint presentation on X. Id often have been interested in an article, a diagram, a video or maybe even a lecture or a podcast, but not a presentation in itself. So given that Thing 11, Slideshare, is all about making such presentations publicly available, I find it hard to be enthused.
I can see the practical uses, especially if youre someone who gives a lot of presentations and wants to make them easily available for reference. But as Trainee Mermaid points out, theyre really only useful for those who have already attended the presentation, because otherwise youre missing half the content. Of course, it would be possible to create presentations that were intended to be viewed independently (and I suspect some are), but then theres no need to stick specifically to PowerPoint.
As a historian, Im dragging myself reluctantly into using PowerPoint, at least for lectures. It seems to be expected now: in a training course on presentations I once got told that I was brave for not using it (I presumed brave was being used in the Civil Service sense of stupidly reckless). It obviously makes sense for archaeologists, art historians, palaeographers and others using a lot of visual evidence, but for those more textually-focused historians, how do you use PowerPoint successfully in teaching?