I recently received an email from social slide-sharing service SlideShare with sad news: Slidecast to be discontinued. It says:
We launched Slidecast in 2007 to allow users to pair audio with their slides. While we have seen some great Slidecasts created, usage hasn’t been as widespread as we had hoped, and we have decided to discontinue this feature on SlideShare.Slidecast will be retired in two phases:
- The ability to create Slidecasts will cease on Feb. 28, 2014
- Existing Slidecasts will be converted to static presentations on SlideShare on April 30, 2014To save Slidecast files in their original form, creators can download their Slidecasts from their ‘My Uploads’ section by April 30, 2014. After April 30, we’ll convert existing Slidecasts (on the SlideShare site and embeds on other sites) into static presentations, so that there is not complete loss of content….We are sad that Slidecast is going away, but we want to focus on improving and adding SlideShare features that will resonate with more users. Thank you for your support.
I have used SlideShare since 2008 (when we used the platform to share presentations from the first Be2camp event), but my favourite feature of the service was Slidecast. I only used it once, but the impact was tremendous, and I’ve told the story at several conferences since.
Social media in the construction industry
In late January 2010, I had a bad cycling accident (I ended up needing crutches for six weeks) days before I was due to give the keynote talk at a construction social media conference in London. Rather than drop out at short notice, I recorded my presentation using Slidecast (see: How Web 2.0 saved my events), and on the day of the conference, I sat in out-patients at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in southeast London watching Twitter on my mobile phone as people tweeted from the event.
Not only did the technology work seamlessly, but the presentation was viewed 160 times before the event was over, and the views just continued. While many of my presentations have been viewed 1000-2000 times or more on SlideShare, this presentation has, to date, been viewed 13,274 times, embedded elsewhere about 40 times, and downloaded 284 times – a success factor that I partly attribute to it being a Slidecast, rather than a mute presentation.