Friday, October 06, 2006

The "youtube" of Powerpoint: Slideshare.net (or, "The Impact of the 'Why Not' culture"

Learnt about Slideshare from Ross Mayfield, who called it "the YouTube of Powerpoint" (a most apt analogy). Registration is currently by invitation only.

My initial thoughts about Slideshare:
  1. Slideshare would be a great tool for giving a renewed life to those non-confidential powerpoint slides I've done in my lifetime;
  2. You don't need to have Microsoft Office to run the slides (great for situations where you have Internet connectivity and the right browser plug-ins, but you don't have the right client software to run the slides);
  3. There still isn't any adequate explanation (to certain people) why there are those who upload and share their stuff on services like Youtube and Flickr.
Point 3 also reminds me of the question that some have asked me, "Why do people blog/ share stuff online?"

Often implied in that question is, "Why do they do it, when there's no apparent returns?"

I think the answers are that:
  • There are those who will first ask "Why should I do this", and those who ask, "Why not?" -- it's the latter who simply take on to social software platforms;
  • It's not so much about "Why" but simply "Because I Can".

I guess there are two train of thoughts here:
  1. That maybe society will comprise more and more of those who will act on the basis of "Why Not?" and a "Because I Can" attitudes. My sense is that it's not so much reckless behaviour but about an intuitive sense of what's "safe" and what's not, and a willingness to just try things out. Maybe I can call this the "Why Not?" culture;
  2. That the act of sharing for the sharing's sake might become the norm (i.e. those who don't might be seen as the mavericks instead)

If (1) is true (i.e. where more people adopt the "Why Not?" attitude towards life in general), I wonder how that will that shape society, economies and nations. How will that shape the provision of public goods like public libraries? That libraries have to provide spaces for experimentation? That to remain relevant, libraries and librarians have to adopt that "Why Not?" attitude in designing and offering services -- less of the "I'm not sure what this means for Loans and Visitorship" thinking and more of the "I'm offering this service Because I Can" thinking.

For (2), at first I thought maybe libraries have to be the Youtube-equivalent, where people can upload/ share/ show-off/ showcase their "content". But that idea struck out 'cos services like Youtube and Slideshare can probably do it better than libraries can. Or how about libraries sticking to what is likely to be our core collection -- print -- and offer something like Printshare (book-sharing, or original content).

You know, I'm not entirely sure what I'm alluding to (yeah, not only do I ramble, I'm incoherent). Maybe I'll re-discover this post a few years later, and then it'll make sense then. :)


Technorati Tag:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join the conversation. Leave a comment :)