Because “imagine everyone's naked” is terrible advice

Sharing Your Talk Online

So there’s this thing called the internet and it’s filled with people who hate everything you stand for and probably would like to say mean things to you (but only on the internet and not to your face). Cool! Let’s feed the fire!

Posting your slides

It’s up to you whether you want to put your slide deck online. For some people, giving a talk is a personal thing, and they don’t want to share with people who weren’t actually in the room with them. Makes sense.

For others, it can be interesting. Ignoring the trolls, there are a lot of fine, upstanding people on the internet, and it can be a real rush to see people having an interesting discussion based on something you created. It’s like the Q&A session you might have had after your talk, except multiplied thousands of times over. It can be fun to engage in these conversations.

The very basic thing you can do is put your slides on a slide sharing website like Speaker Deck. Depending on the talk, slides can still be very valuable on their own, even without your voice alongside them. After all, it’s quicker to read than it is to listen.

Posting your talk

It’s helpful to go the extra distance, though. Ideally, your audience online should get just as much context as the audience in your room.

One thing you can do is record your voice while you flip through your talk. You can either do this during your practice runs or, if you want the “real deal”, record it as you give it in front of a live studio audience.

Finally, you can also get yourself recorded. A lot of conferences will take video of their speakers nowadays, and will post it on YouTube or Vimeo or their own sites. This is a really good approach, but just be warned: it can sometimes take conferences months and months before they get all their video rendered and cleaned up. It’s not a trivial thing.

Expanding on your talk

There’s a few intrepid souls that go even further. Rather than just try to mimic the talk environment online, they go to greater lengths to make sure the online experience is actually the superset of experiences.

For example, Ryan Tomayko gave a talk called The Shell Hater’s Handbook, which explained the POSIX shell to beginners. Afterwards, he published a companion website that had the video of his talk, his slide deck, and then on top of all of that, a separate blog post that expands on some of the things he talked about in his talk. Finally, he made a reference page for all the POSIX utilities you might be interested in after all that. He created an experience that was more valuable than just regurgitating the talk video.

I’ve seen people do similar things with their slide deck. They’ll split up most of their slides into separate images, and then write a paragraph or two that describes what was said about that particular slide. This is a lot of work (which is the reason I haven’t quite gone that far on my own talks), but it’s really makes a difference while reading it.

Want something a bit less time-consuming? Instead of just tweeting a link to your slide deck, make a quick website and add a 4-8 paragraph introduction to your slide deck so people get a better context of what they’re getting into. Best bang for your buck.