My theory regarding PPT's unique uses and misuses is that the concept of “slides” versus “pages” makes it seem to the brain that there is a buffet table with multiple individual offerings of information, whereas Word can seem like one stupendous serving of text. Excel is a dizzying menu you can’t read from where you're standing, and when you get close enough for your glasses to help you, you find out the whole thing’s in Swahili, and darn if that’s not on your list of spoken (nor read) languages.
The problem with the buffet is, given the limitations of the sideboard, each element on it has only so much space.
This space is best not set out as if it were a full, sit-down supper. This space should not come with its own separate plates, utensils, napkins, glassware, and so on.
And, given the parameters of a pot luck smorgasbord, this space is always going to attract some cooks who will insist upon overdoing their contributions.
You cannot equip text on a PPT slide with full grammatical formality. You cannot indulge in full sentences, elegant (or not) descriptors, nor (for Maud’s sake, even I can’t tolerate this anymore) DOUBLE SPACES AFTER PERIODS. Forget about using “a”, “the”, and any conjugation of the verb “to be”. Put out the dish you have to serve, present it with pride, and be done. Garnish is for the graphics, but the text you write must be simple – and short.
I had a boss once, positively obsessed with pithiness. So much so we called it pith. Good times were had.
Such an imperative to brevity could wear on a wordy wench like me, but even I, for a paycheck, understand that sometimes KISS doesn’t stand merely for Keep It Simple Stupid (nor even Kids In Satan’s Service – hah), but Keep It SHORT Stupid.
As with Twitter, sometimes you find yourself in PPT, figuring out which grammar crime to commit in order to stay within the limitations.
I can get pretty criminal in PPT. I commit crimes against my beloved mother tongue which in any other context would be, for me, all but unthinkable.
But I am a morbidly driven cuss when it comes to PPT, and I *insist* upon dealing with it on its own terms, and so my own terms become necessarily secondary.
This is what it’s like having any job, really.
Even writing – you write for yourself first, but if you want to sell, you revise, and eventually you realize there are readers out there.
Going to work as a whole is like Twitter; you edit yourself to fit the 140 character limit. Some folks cover their tatts, some try to remember not to swear, most of us have, to some degree or other, to “leave home at home” even as others have to remember to leave work at the office. We’re all varying successes; what a PowerPoint extravaganza of poorly considered graphical results humanity might be.
Sometimes, you really feel the limits, those tiny boundaries seeming to compress your own resources. It can be hard to stay inside.
When life is churning up enormous emotions: you have to choose which social crimes to commit, at the office. You have to conserve your reserves of good cheer when it’s difficult to synthesize, but you can’t expend negativity in its stead. You constrict, you shrink, you spend a nod instead of a smile and “how are you” – you only have 140 expressions for the day, and they have to be good ones.
PPT can be a poor medium for text.
Offices can be poor medium in which to store your heart, forty hours per week.
Character limits. Suddenly: some layers in that phrase – one of them being “irony” …