Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


Pecha Kucha, not so mucha

I may be getting myself in trouble with my twitterstream here, or possibly get my acceptance to speak at Internet Librarian revoked, but I will out myself anyway:  I am not a fan of pecha kucha.

For those who have not yet been exposed to this little wave taking over library land, it’s a presentation, or series of presentations. Speakers go 20 by 20, twenty slides twenty seconds each. The slides are supposed to be artistic and metaphorical, and the content is supposed to hit the high notes. (Computers in Libraries 2008 pecha kucha video is available over at Open Stacks)

I get that bad powerpoint is painful. I get that speakers reading their presentation, word for word, is enervating. And I also get that pecha kucha is really entertaining to sit through.

But I think, at it’s core, pecha kucha is anti-intellectual.  It’s ideas without content, all in broad strokes and generalizations. It feels more about the pretty slides than the meat of the matter. And while I like big ideas, and I like being entertained, I also really like the stuff of the stuff. I’m a details gal. I want the details. Conferences without the details? are twinkies. and ho hos. I like my conference sessions to be … a little more. Heirloom tomatoes sliced over fresh buffalo mozzarella and drizzled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and chiffonade of basil, with just a touch of grey salt. Simple ingredients simple presented, savory, worth sitting down and taking your time with. The details have been lovingly chosen and carefully crafted into the whole dish, and good people have been invited to sit down around the table and luxuriate in the bounty before them.

Doesn’t that sound like a conference session worth attending?

Pecha kucha supporters — what am I missing? I’ve watched two, I’ve made one, and I just don’t get it. Is it more than an entertaining trend? tell me what you love about the rapid chatter, either as speaker or audience.