Get “Swayed” in 2015!

by Jenny Hansen

Today I’m sharing a really fun present to help you to ring in the new year. When I started telling my pals about the new Microsoft Sway, they about lost their minds. It is extremely creative and cool, but super easy to use. Best of all, it integrates seamlessly with OneDrive and Office Online and it’s FREE. All I can say is, whether you’re a parent, an executive, or a creative type…y’all need to play with Sway

Many people are comparing Sway to PowerPoint, but I think it’s more like a digital scrapbook. Imagine being able to brainstorm and scrapbook your story/project/family in a format that could be shared via social media or embedded in a blog. Or gathering video and photos in one spot to create memories, or just spark your own creativity.

Welcome to the new world of Sway.

Here’s a Sway about The Undie Chronicles, a long-running series at More Cowbell.

[How fun is that? Scroll through and feel free to click the social links to share it!]

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about Sway.

  • The program is viable on any platform or device – Windows, Mac, tablets, etc.
  • Go to http://sway.com if you want to get signed up.
  • It’s currently by invitation only, but they accept everybody – it takes about a week for approval.
  • Sway is perfect for storytelling – whether it’s a sports recap, a camping trip, or an ad campaign.
  • Like paper scrapbooking, Sway is all about your imagination.

Current Limitations

  • You might have to wait a week to get it, and you must have a Microsoft account.
  • There are limits to the current options like layouts, colors and styles. More are coming, but Microsoft is really taking their time collecting feedback before they go live with the “full” version.
  • You need to get used to creating in the “Storyline” and then using the “Preview Pane” on the right to see the results. (But WOW, the results.)

The first thing I thought of when my friends at Microsoft showed me a demo was, “Book Trailers!” Sway is ideal for a visual pitch of any idea or creative project.

My favorite Sway features

  • You can add content from just about anywhere on the web or from your own device.
  • You can also share content in tons of places, either via social media or by sending a link. The person doesn’t even need to have Sway to view what you send.
  • It works on both Macs and PCs.
  • It integrates with Office Online, which is also free.
  • You can search the web for content from inside the app.
  • Since it integrates with OneDrive, all my photos are easy to access.
  • It’s much more user friendly than PowerPoint. Example: it took me 10 minutes to my pals the gist of Sway. It takes me at least an hour to get people up to speed on PowerPoint.
  • Sway is very kid-friendly, and I expect to see tons of Sways at future school and scouting events.
  • Microsoft actually really wants our feedback so the users have a golden opportunity to influence the direction and features of the software.

Here’s a post with “5 Things To Know About Sway.”

Demo of “How to Use Sway”

Okay, it’s your turn! Had you heard of Sway before we talked about it here at SocialIn? What ideas do you have for how this program could be used? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

Happy New Year!

~ Jenny @JennyHansenCA

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2015 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me.

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