What the hell is it about powerpoint presentations that fogs the mind, displaces interest and throws the almighty nap switch on?

My colleagues and I were discussing this today, as we’re all smack dab in the middle of a two-day conference (sorry, “COLLOQUIUM“) and we’re dealing with listening to people talk for the major part of the day. Invariably during the talks, you miss one little point and it’s as if you suddenly realize all the effort you were putting into paying attention out of respect to the person has suddenly taken a one-way trip to don’t-care land. “Damn” you think, “what the hell did they just say? It sounded important. Wait… what the hell is he saying now? Damn! Shit! What the hell is that graph for?! Log-what? What does that Y-axis say? Maybe if I turn my hea.. crap! Next slide?! Already?!?!?”

Annnnnnd this is when the eyes glaze over. Thoughts turn to what else you’d rather be doing, something, anything other than pay attention to the rest of the talk, because at this point buddy, you’re fucked. Might as well think about the important things, like how much milk is left in the fridge, and how funny that joke about the 7 nuns and the midget you heard yesterday was. However, laughing out loud might bring attention to you, so mundane subjects might be preferable.

So maybe you lose track of something during a talk, and the rest becomes incomprehensible. Maybe. But there might be another deeper, more absolving reason for all of us to take to – namely, it involves blaming someone else. Yes that’s right. I blame Powerpoint.

The evils of Powerpoint have been well documented over the year [Hijalinski et al 2001; Fahrtsalot 2004] but I suspect something entirely more nefarious is going on here. For a vast majority of us, when we see a slideshow go full-screen, we feel.. something switch on. Admit it.. next time, pay attention, its definitely there. But what on earth can it be?! Hell, I’ll freaking tell you.

LCD projectors and Powerpoint presentations have grown in abundance hand in hand over the last years. Do you think this is a coincidence?! Observe the following graph:


Haha! You thought I’d have a graph? What a loser! Anyways, loser, so what I was saying is that there is almost certainly a collusion going on here between the software maker we all love to hate and the LCD projector companies. Each wants their technology to not only remain as the standard, but to increase until kingdom come. Now how, noble reader (loser), do you think they can accomplish this?

Really, its simple in its geniusity. Wait, how did that go again?…

Anyways, just think about it for a second – the LCD projects the Powerpoint presentations. Now, what is the one thing that Powerpoin..

Fine, OK, I’ve got nothing. I thought I was going somewhere with this, that I’d somehow stumble onto the evil plan just by laying it out beforehand, but seriously, I’m drawing a blank. go HOME people! Go work on your presentations! Because there is a multitude of people out there that are freaking just waiting for you to get up there to bare your soul, so that they can take a freaking nap!

And yes. In case you were wondering, this blog post was thought up today during a talk about.. well, of course I don’t freaking know.