If you’re on social media in any capacity, you may have come across some very viral phenomena during these wacky past couple years. Bread baking, needlepoint, watercolor (among many other cottagecore activities), choreographed dance challenges, jigsaw puzzles — you name it, people have tried it.
Someday, I’ll tell my grandchildren all about how hard everyone worked to stay busy, distracted, creative, and sane during this seemingly endless slice-of-hell season we’re all pushing through together. While getting a handle on combating emerging variants and surges, utilizing resources that help us live with the virus, and slowly reintroducing some behaviors, there are some pandemic trends that I’m taking with me into the future. My favorite? PowerPoint presentation parties.
For the uninitiated, a PowerPoint party basically consists of pals getting together, either virtually or IRL, to share slide decks. While these types of presentation parties originated well before the pandemic, global lockdowns, social life shakeups, and remarkable levels of boredom took this idea and ran with it.
I recently attended my first in-person PowerPoint Party and I can’t recommend it enough. Let me immediately start off by disclosing that my friends and I are mega-dorks. We are the daughters of the nerds they couldn’t shove into lockers. We roll Natural Twenty-deep. We schedule obscure museum trips into our girls’ weekend itineraries. You get the picture! It makes sense that this type of gathering was ideal for our group of misfit gals. And the teacher’s pets that we are, we certainly understood the assignment.
For starters, we gathered at the home of our pal Julia, whose basement office setup is complete with a massive flatscreen and multi-monitor situation that makes me feel like I’m in NASA’s rec room. A tech situation this advanced is not required by any means — simply sharing on a laptop around a coffee table or virtually on Zoom or Google Meet works just as well. But when in Rome (Julia’s NASA basement), do as the astronauts do!
Each guest was instructed to come prepared with a three to four-minute presentation. I used classic Microsoft PowerPoint, though others utilized different presentation software. Because it’s been years since many of us exercised our presentation and slide deck-building muscles, basic templates more than sufficed for our purposes.
Critically, prior to individually presenting, we chose not to share with one another the subject matter of our respective presentations, to optimize shock, awe, horror, and delight touchpoints. For an added effect, many presenters opted to arrive in office wear or blazers, though I wore a matching Nike set (because I have chosen to exclusively wear elastic and soft materials these days.)
Being a lifelong teacher-pleasing nerd, I volunteered to go first. I presented “Blurred Vision; Half-Hearted; Can’t Win,” my take on “Friday Night Lights” season two and ways to improve this critically-savaged, fan-least-favorite season in an otherwise perfect, heartwarming series. Other presentations included, “Dorothy Zbornak Outfits As Zodiac Signs,” “Things That Are Lucky I Cannot Start Fires with My Mind,” “How Women Are Portrayed in Art,” and “Presenters as ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Characters.”
After cry-laughing for three marvelous hours — yes, our presentations all went way over the time limit — I had to share our experience with the masses. The TikToks and snapshots you see online of these parties really are as entertaining, revealing, and straight-up fun as they seem. So at your next get-together, holiday party, virtual weekend check-in, wedding, whatever, get a little geeky sharing your passion, hot takes, experiences, and deep-cut knowledge with your loved ones!