Why 'Powerpoint Karaoke' should be at your next unit meeting

Do you pay attention to the PowerPoint presentation at any given meeting? Have you ever taken away anything useful? Does it even matter what it’s about or what the presenter is saying?

90 percent of the time, the answer to all of these questions is, ‘no.’

Military personnel are, by and large, skilled at giving such presentations. So, when a trove of more than 57,000 old military PowerPoint presentations was uncovered by the Internet Archive, they decided to have a little fun with it.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit archive of websites and other digital content (they use the term “cultural artifacts in digital form”). They’ve been archiving the web for more than 20 years and now have millions of those digital artifacts along with billions of old web pages.

Storing PowerPoint presentations, however, is a relatively new thing, mined from the archives of .mil sites. The Internet Archive calls this collection the “Military-Industrial PowerPoint Complex.” And to celebrate its creation, they’re having a “PowerPoint Karaoke” Night.

PowerPoint Karaoke

The flyer for Internet Archives’ PowerPoint Karaoke Night.

PowerPoint Karaoke is an event where attendees give a five-minute presentation using a set of PowerPoint slides they’ve never seen before. The rules are simple.

1) The presenter cannot see the slides before presenting;

2) The presenter delivers each slide in succession without skipping slides or going back; and

3) The presentation ends when all slides are presented, or after 5 minutes (whichever comes first).

PowerPoint Karaoke

The PowerPoint equivalent of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

If you want to have A PowerPoint Karaoke jam sesh in your unit, head over to Internet Archive’s Military Industrial PowerPoint Complex site and pick a few. There are tens of thousands of options to choose from. From a 2002 Navy-Marine Corps Intranet User Awareness Briefing from the Pentagon to an Army National Guard presentation called, “Writing Effective Self-Assessments,” the possibilities are endless.

The Military-Industrial PowerPoint Complex is part of the Internet Archive’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, but PowerPoint Karaoke is a new tradition — one that should be carried on.

Don’t let Fort Eustis’ “Picnic with Capt. B” information briefing get relegated to the dustbin of history.