A few days ago I gave a PowerPoint presentation of my research to our
department. After the presentation, a graduate teaching assistant in the
department whom I've known for a number of years asked me if he could have
a copy of the presentation so that he could follow-up with one of his
classes (some of his students also were at the presentation). I immediately
agreed, but after some debate with myself, I decided to give him hard copy
of the slides instead. The medium of PowerPoint would erode the boundaries
between him and me.
Here's a snippet from my note to him. I wonder if this phenomenon has been
observed/discussed before in the media literature.
I've copied out all of my slides (about 50), and left them in your mailbox.
I'd intended to send you the PowerPoint presentation itself, but in the end
felt uncomfortable about doing that.
It's an interesting media phenomenon. If I give you photocopies of the
slides and you distribute them for discussion to your students, it's very
clear what are the boundaries between my contribution, and yours. The
slides are mine, the discussion is yours. However, the PowerPoint medium is
inherently incomplete. If you present my slides as a PowerPoint
presentation, it no longer is possible to clearly demarcate our boundaries.
That's because the in the PowerPoint setting, the slides are inseparable
from the commentary. Thus it's not possible to distinguish what part of the
commentary is you and what part is me.
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