In a PowerPoint presentation, any fancy transitions, sounds, and other effects that have no discernible purpose, use, or benefit.
Some critics contend that PowerPoint's emphasis on bullets and animated graphics is anathema to the kind of critical thinking students should be learning in class.
'Beware of PowerPointlessness,' said Jamie McKenzie, the publisher of From Now On, an online journal about educational technology.
—Lisa Guernsey, "Learning, One Bullet Point at a Time," The New York Times, May 31, 2001
PowerPointlessness (a term I first encountered on a trip to Australia) is a problem that reaches beyond schools into the business world.
—Jamie McKenzie, "Scoring Power Points," From Now On, September, 2000
Today's word gets used more in online pages than it does in offline newspapers and magazines. That makes it difficult to track down a first use. However, it appears as though Jamie McKenzie, the person quoted in the above citation, is responsible for popularizing the term. He first used it in the September, 2000 issue of his journal. I asked Mr. McKenzie about his Australian source. He put me in touch with Barb Jenkins, who works for the South Australia Department of Education Training and Employment. She confirms that, yes, she coined the word a few years ago.