Thursday, December 16, 2004

Powerpoint is not evil

This is wonderful. It takes Edward Tufte's The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint (which does a thorough job of bashing Powerpoint presentations) and presents it as Powerpoint bullets in a very compelling and succinct way -- I'd rather read the powerpoint bullets than Tufte's version, because I get it in a clear and dense fashion.

Powerpoint and its clones are a tool that makes it easy for anyone to create bullet-point presentations, add graphics, etc. Why are people surprised that if anyone can do it, anyone will? Naturally there will be lots of mediocre presentations and of course poor presenters will use it as a crutch. But people were creating bad bullet points and reading their slides to the audience before Powerpoint came along. People who need a crutch will grab for the nearest one. To suggest that it's Powerpoint's fault for making it easy to create a presentation is silly, and Aaron Swartz demonstrates this in a lovely roundabout way.