Before I get started with the real meat of this post, let me say this: the funniest part of browsing Slideshare was absolutely seeing the thumbnails of the Powerpoints and recognizing how many of the design templates I've used in the past. I was having all kinds of flashbacks to every presentation I've ever made for students and workshops and classes.
But I digress. The thing is, I wanted to like Slideshare. I really did. I liked it in theory. However, when push comes to shove, as far as my teaching goes, I really don't see too much of an advantage of putting a presentation up on Slideshare instead of just emailing it to those students or colleagues I need to share it with.
After exploring a few Slideshares, I found myself disappointed. Maybe if you could record audio to accompany the uploaded files, I thought, there would be some more value added, but without that, it's kind of boring. In fact, I think Voicethread is more useful, even if it's a little more cumbersome to create the presentation. I'm not kidding - I was so desperately wanting for there to be audio that I checked my speakers at least 8 times to make sure they weren't muted while I was looking at the presentations.
Still frustrated, I went back to the Slideshare that explains this whole thing and it found that you can include audio after all. That left me with a whole different problem - why isn't anyone using it? And why isn't searching for the Slidecasts that integrate audio easier? The browse feature is pretty straightforward for the regular Slideshares, but much less user-friendly for the Slidecasts.
Ultimately, I didn't find anything too impressive on Slideshare. I'm willing to admit that my frustration levels and initial disappointment might have rendered me a tough audience, but I didn't stumble upon anything great like I did on the Ning site, or get really excited about the application like I did with Voicethread, or immediately start generating ideas for lessons and projects like I did with wikis. I'm sure for some people, this works - I see the value maybe for corporate types who want to ensure some kind of standardization of training and not share original files lest they be altered - but for me, emailing presentations is just peachy. Not overwhelmed, not too underwhelmed...just whelmed.
But here's the first something I found that I thought was kind of interesting: