Presentation specialist Nolan Haims recently tweeted that he was looking for something to replace a third-party utility that had stopped working. The application would allow a user to prepare a set of tweets associated with individual slides in a PowerPoint presentation. As each slide is displayed in slideshow mode, the associated tweet is broadcast under the user's name on their Twitter account.
I like this idea and was surprised that I could not find an application to support it. The use case seems apparent once you think about it… It lets a presenter reach a larger audience in the Twitterverse, effectively "live tweeting" his or her own presentation. It makes it easy for attendees to retweet key points, helping to expand the presenter's perceived authority and expertise. It can help encourage additional conversation and discussion around key topics on Twitter amongst interested parties. And interestingly, it could help the preparation process, forcing the presenter to consider whether each slide clearly communicates one easily defined concept that audiences can take in and comprehend.
In my searching, I found several examples of interface applications that were designed to show live Twitter feeds related to a hashtag or keyword on a PowerPoint slide in slideshow mode. But nothing that went the other direction, transmitting instead of receiving.
It seems to me that this is an opportunity for a savvy webinar software vendor to create a differentiator for their customers. Imagine a technology like ON24 or BigMarker or Adobe Connect that allows an "upload and convert" step for loading PowerPoint slides for use in a web conference. The software has the concept of individual slide navigation built in. It runs in a web browser already. Shouldn't it be an achievable programming task to let a presenter enter their Twitter credentials and have the software tweet a message from a prepared list when the associated slide is displayed? (Ideally it would be smart enough to only broadcast the tweet the first time the slide is shown in a session to avoid repetitions if a presenter revisits a slide in a conference.)
Of course the wider use case that Nolan is looking for (direct integration with PowerPoint's slideshow mode) is more generally useful. This would let the functionality work for presenters in local room-based events and would also work with webinar software that relies on screen share to show the slide show as it is displayed on the presenter's screen.
Who's going to step up to the plate and make this happen? I'll be happy to highlight you in my blog!