Collaborate, Create, Communicate

The ghost in the machine, or tricks for the online presenter

This post is not about primitive brain structures, neither about the Police album (you wish…), but just about me finding out once again that it’s so efficient to have stuff online and in the cloud than in my computer. Particularly in emergency. Emergency meaning me not getting on a plane to Paris to participate in the UNEP OzonAction Social Media Roundtable (check their Facebook page).

Online presentation based on bookmark browsing

At the last minute, my session had to be re-arranged as a Web conference. Basic toolkit: Skype for voice, Dimdim Myscreen for screensharing, a few supporting slides on Google Docs, all the examples I wanted to show and comment as bookmarks on Delicious.

Well, Web conferencing is not a new trick, is it? But what I found interesting is that if you have everything online right from the start, switching to online delivery mode is easier.

The real discovery is the beta version of Browse these bookmarks on Delicious.com. You go to your list of bookmarks, or just to a tag, and by clicking on Browse these bookmarks, the bookmarked sites will be displayed in slideshow mode, that you can control from a discrete bar at the top of the screen.

I love this approach for presentations because:

1. on the content side: what I’m showing is live, the message is ‘watch what’s going on by yourself';

2. on the delivery side: you can change the sequence  or the selection of examples at any time, with no need to add screenshots and slides, it’s a living organism right from the start;

Click to enlarge

3. on the visual side: the slim bar at the top is unobtrusive, most screen space is reserved to the site you want to show, you can advance linearly or jump to one of the bookmarks. And this is good when you’re sharing your screen, because part of the screen on the other side is going to be taken up by the web conferencing interface.

I have to say that we set up the online session with basically no testing, so would love to hear from the participants at the round table how comfortably they were able to see and follow. I just hope the screen resolution was good enough in the room for people to see the sites on Delicious.

I used the actual slideshow for the opening screen, the summary of the social tools used across CGIAR sites, and the closing observations, which are the intended contribution to the Roundtable. Most of the session was on the live examples of how the CGIAR is using social media to communicate research and encourage research uptake, with all the different flavours in between (e.g. campaigns, book launches, program documentation, social reporting, etc).

For the curious among you, here is the online presentation with the link to the bookmarks.

Have you tried this approach before? How did it go? Ideas on how to make it better?