What is SlideShare?
SlideShare.net is a free online service that allows you to publish your presentation graphics (ie PowerPoint, Keynote) online. You can create a profile, upload presentations and associated documents, and share them publicly or privately with other SlideShare users. Your presentations can then be searched for, accessed, viewed, rated, tagged, saved, and shared by many other people. You can use SlideShare as a means to archive your presentations then include them in your website, blog or other social media profile, such as LinkedIn, to demonstrate your expertise. You can search for and find other users' presentations to view and share.
Do I want to share my slides?
SlideShare is a social media tool. What that means is SlideShare.net is a place where you can find other people with similar interests (social) and see what they are creating (media). If you want to either learn about the wine industry or medical simulation, odds are you can find presentations about that subject on SlideShare.net. Finding those topics on SlideShare means you can connect with people who are interested in that subject, just like you. Reviewing their content can either inform you of something new and lead you to other resources, or remind you of your own expertise and perhaps compel you to share your knowledge via SlideShare.
By contributing your slides you demonstrate your expertise and allow other people to learn from you. Does this mean you should create brand new slides just for SlideShare? You could, but most users don't. Most users upload their slides after they have given a presentation or series of lectures. It's a way to share the slides with people who attended your lecture or seminar AND share them with people who were unable to attend.
What are the risks?
To avoid negative effects of sharing your slides publicly: Publish under your own name. Don't publish someone else's slides - publish only your own work. Practice copyright adherence in all that you create. Double-check all materials prior to publishing on SlideShare. Do not - ever! - publish confidential material. Do not publish company or institution information (ie internal information).
View my SlideShare!
After you have started an account and published a slideset or two, share it! Let people know that you published something so they can check it out. If it is a lecture you present at a national conference, email a link to your colleagues. If it is a slideset from a seminar you led, let the attendees know they can review the material online. If you create a tutorial on cooking with wine, let your friends and family know.
You can view my SlideShare profile here: http://www.slideshare.net/carrisaari, or check out this slideset on Plagiarism in Academic Medicine which I created for a graduate school course: http://www.slideshare.net/carrisaari/plagiarism-in-academic-medicine.