are there IM solutions geared specifically for discussing PowerPoint presentations during meetings?

if a bunch of people sit in a meeting with their internet connected laptops, listening to a colleague giving a presentation, is there a convenient way for a subgroup of the listeners to quietly discuss and take notes on the presentation (which was hopefully distributed as PPT file to them previously) in order to coordinate their subsequent questioning and other attacks on the presenter? Wouldn’t that be more fun than just sitting there with glazed eyes, as suggested by somebody quoted in a recent thread?

Not sure I understand the question. Why would you not be able to simply IM anyway? If the Slide Show is full screen on your machine, you can choose to run it in a Window instead.

Sounds like a perfect application for Microsoft’s Live Meeting and Office Communicator. One person can share their desktop to the rest of the group and the group can do a group chat with OC.

Now that I’ve said that, I went and looked, and it’s not a free app. The generic name for this sort of application is “web conferencing” so you could look around for free versions.

gotpasswords, there is nothing that you can do on Facebook that you could not work out ways of doing on an old fashioned forum. If you knew what to do in the first place and were willing to tolerate lower than optimal usability. But yeah, if you were to time travel to ante-Facebook times, you could start your very own urFacebook using phpBB and teach all of your users how to do the various actions that now are “taught” and practiced through the convenient Facebook user interface.

The same logic applies here. Skype chat and Google Docs (if they happen to support PPT files) could be used to discuss PowerPoint presentations, including in the specialized environment of a business meeting. But it is not necessarily a very convenient way of doing it. Plus, absent the “teaching” aspect of marketing, people might not even know that this may be a good idea to do in the first place, and of course the clunkiness of the existing user interface would not discourage them from so thinking.

“The medium is the message” is a slogan that, among other things, describes what I am getting at. When the medium is convenient and teaches you to do something useful that you have not thought of doing previously, it serves as a message encouraging you to do just that.

You can show a Powerpoint inside a Webex Meeting Center or Training Center session and have the chat and poll functions, which amount to IM w/ Powerpoint.