SlideShare holds the world's largest collaboration of presentations. It is a Web 2.0 based slide hosting service. Within this community, one can share, view, search and even get ideas from a huge selection of public presentations covering many topics. Presentations can be uploaded either publicly or privately. This tool could be used at the workplace, classroom or home office.
SlideShare allows its users to upload presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint or OpenOffice, and also upload other documents such as .PDF's, videos and webinars. Once uploaded, presentations are converted into a Flash format that makes for easy sharing. This makes for a universal method for sharing presentations, since one doesn't need to worry about their audience having the compatible presentation software on their computer.
SlideShare was established in October 2006 and has offices in San Francisco and New Delhi. As of 2011, the organization employed 55 employees and was noted as one of the top 200 most visited websites in the world. In fact, SlideShare is regularly used by the Whitehouse and many other US govt departments to share meeting and video content. As of 2012, SlideShare gets about 58 million unique visitors a month, and has close to 16 million registered users. In addition, SlideShare was named as one of the World's Top tools for e-learning and education in 2010.
SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn for $119 million in cash and stock in May 2012.
SlideShare does for presentations what YouTube does for videos. By converting presentations into a Flash format and allowing the public access to much of its content, SlideShare is a community where individuals can research topics, get inspiration for their presentation or simply check out a sales deck without an annoying sales rep. It's professional versions also make it a tool for business since organizations can share content among themselves without worrying if the other is equipped with the software needed to view it.
SlideShare's appearance is clean, cool and engaging. There are some advertisements throughout the site, however one could upgrade to a professional-grade membership to go ad-free. Popular presentations are hosted on the main page and are very engaging. Presentations do not look any worse for being converted to Flash. In fact, the site runs smoothly and presentations load quickly.
One issue apparent to SlideShare is that "motion" or the transitions between slides do not translate to SlideShare. So presentations may need to be modified if key points originally needed some sort of motion to be understood.
The only other issue seems to be that the presentations on the Basic version are completely public. Therefore, confidential and proprietary information will require a professional membership in order to be shared with its intended audience on SlideShare.
Users do not even need to register for a username if they just want to visit presentations. However, to upload a deck, one can register by providing a username, email and password. This is all that is needed for Basic registration.
SlideShare's Basic membership is free and allows for unlimited presentation views and uploads. However, the Basic is ad-supported. Professional-grade memberships range from $19-$249/ month. By upgrading to a professional membership, people will not see advertisements, and they will have the ability to share content privately.
SlideShare is a useful service for storing, sharing and studying presentations. The ability to convert to the Flash format is fantastic when people need to share presentations with others and don't want to worry whether they have the compatible software to view it. The ability to embed presentations into a blog or site is also a very nice. Businesses, educators and entrepreneurs are all target-users for this application.