Slideshare. is a resource that allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentations which can then be shared with other people, embedded on webpages or weblogs or kept to a small group of colleagues. It seems (and I have to say at this point I've not got any confirmation from Slideshare themselves) that they've played an April Fool's Day joke that has gone terribly wrong.
I, and everyone else who has an account there got an email this morning congratulating me on being a Slideshare rockstar:
"We've noticed that your slideshow on SlideShare has been getting a LOT of views in the last 24 hours. Great job ... you must be doing something right. ;-) Why don't you tweet or blog this? Use the hashtag #bestofslideshare so we can track the conversation."
I thought this was slightly odd since I have a lot of slideshows there, and the email didn't say which one they were referring to. Sure enough, when I went to my account the number of views had gone through the roof. I thought it was odd, but that was that. I certainly didn't think of commenting on Twitter for example, though a lot of other people have done.
It's looking as though this is a prank by Slideshare on their users. This is a huge error for a number of reasons:
1. I don't appreciate anyone manipulating data on my content. That Slideshare are so relaxed about this, and feel they can do what they like is really sending entirely the wrong message about how they view users and content.
2. Using an April Fool prank to generate comment and visits is dubious at best. If they'd not used the hashtag suggestion I wouldn't have worried about it, but it's a deliberate attempt to get publicity.
3. This has lead to a huge spike in traffic to the site. This is the most annoying aspect because the whole POINT of the site is to allow people to get access to slideshows directly from the site. It's slowed down to a point where it's entirely unusable. I'm just grateful that I don't have any need to use it professionally today.
4. There's already a really big backlash against this prank on Twitter - people who are using the hashtag are looking stupid, which is making them angry. Clicking on a link privately and realising you've been caught is one thing - getting them to do it in public is another thing entirely.
I'm already seeing a lot of tweets from people saying that they're annoyed and unhappy. Several are asking for suggestions of different resources to use. If you're in that category, try:
Authorstream which is a tool that I've used once or twice - works very well. Maximum upload size is 30Mb, and it supports Voice over narration.
Sliderocket which is attractive and very glossy.
280Slides which is quite new and still finding its feet but getting there.
Slideboom which allows for narration, video, animation and so on.
If you want more suggestions, take a look at my collection which lists 25 alternatives to Slideshare (you'll need to scroll down the page to 'Presentations').
Very disappointing to see this from Slideshare, and I suspect they're going to be regretting it very shortly.