TED (Technology, Environment, Design) is a global ideas movement that posts ‘ideas worth spreading’ online. It covers a huge range of topics and experts in their given field get 18 minutes onstage to get their ideas across to an audience of around 800 – handpicked from thousands.
I had my introduction to Tedx from Sydney earlier this year via Radio National. I heard some amazing stuff and didn’t care – as do some – that TED turns thinkers into entertainers.
Journalist Rosemary Neill asks if this popularity of ideas fests is
“A reaction to public debates in which politicians are perceived to be talking without saying anything..”
or a response to
“A media bloated with partisan commentary, or of commentators taking numbingly predictable positions?”
This is the view of Simon Longstaff, co-curator of Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas. He thinks people are enjoying coming together for more than a few sound-bytes, to be able to go over argumnets, a bit like the old townhall meetings.
TED rhetoric since 2006 has been about changing the world by talking. Some call it ‘crowd-accelerated learning’ and the online interest in free web videos shows no sign of slowing.
Sandy Verschoor of Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas says we are at a tipping point in several areas – climate change, human rights, social interaction and social media – so people want an idea of what the future might be.
Some say the world is ‘dumbing down’, but at the same time there are thousands of people around the world wanting to meet and think. People are better educated than they were 50-100 years ago and they want content and knowledge.
TED, founded in the US 1984 was initially a conference focussed on technology, design and Silicon Valley ‘blue-sky thinking’.
It has evolved and today audiences apply in writing and are hand-picked by organisers.
To attend TED conferences in California or Edinburgh you pay around $6000.
In Australia conferences are free but the audiences are also hand-picked.
If you don’t already know it, check out TED for a better-informed community