It’s nearing the end of midterm season—which means most of us are searching for mediums to either alleviate our stress and/or help us forget about the inevitable assessment that occurs during midterm season. Aside from the typical forms of entertaining mass media, TED talks can be the perfect medium to get us through intensive long hours of studying. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks which are 18 minutes or less. The compactness of the TED experience makes it an ideal study break, and there are various forms of the TED experience we can consume.
Before we delve into the various forms of the TED experience, let’s discuss the humble beginnings of TED. The TED experience has evolved since its origin story beginning in 1984. The idea of the matrimony of Technology, Entertainment, and Design birthed from the mind of Richard Saul Wurman along side the insight of Henry Marks. The first TED conference commenced in 1990, and the rise of the TED community has exponentially grown since then. The topics discussed in TED events have changed drastically from the 1990 conference; Now the event encompasses topics beyond Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Any topic that you can think of, there is a TED talk that engulfs it and effectively transports the viewer to the various intricacies of said topic. The first TED conference in 1990 was only the beginning of the evolution of the TED experience. During the 2000s the futurity of the TED conference seemed unclear. This uncertainty resulted in Chris Anderson’s non-profit, The Sapling Foundation, and Chris Anderson became the Curator of TED. Anderson, being a media entrepreneur, propelled the presence of TED to the world. The early TED experience used to be an annual conference exclusive by invite, and the speakers at the event were a select few, of high prestige who were selected by the TED board. Currently TED speakers have come from various professions, such as scientists, philanthropists, comedians, and others. Today anyone can apply to attend the annual TED conference, and there are now various TED related events that expand the impact of the TED mantra. There’s TEDGlobal, a sister TED conference created in 2005 that has the ability to reach an international sphere. Next, TEDYouth which infiltrates middle schools and high schools to inspire future generations. TED-ED takes the conference style and manipulates it into mini-animations for children to enjoy the TED experience. TEDFellow provides incredible support to the global community in a plethora of countries. In June, computational biologist and TEDfellow, Geoffrey Siwo discussed the disparities in the development of CRISPR — the gene editing tool that has primarily concentrated on a specific population, and excluded other populations.
TEDx (should look familiar) is an independently organized TED event. A group of people can attain a free TED license and administer a local independent TED event. At TedxBloomington, Charlie Todd, comedian and creator of comedic group Improv Everywhere, discussed how conducting obscure stunts around New York has brought the community closer. Obscure stunts include reenacting GhostBusters in a New York library and having 3,000 people listen to the same MP3. This year, in a town in northwestern Turkana County, Kakuma, a refugee camp has organized its first Tedx organization — TedxKakumaCamp. Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing model to be on the cover of Vogue, was one of the speakers at TedxKakumaCamp. During her talk she stated “I’m not afraid to be the first, to step out on my own, to take risks and seek change. I use my platform to spread an important message of acceptance.” Aden’s talk encompasses the essence of TED. TED is devoted to the message of spreading ideas, and providing new ideas a platform they haven’t received before. TEDxOhioStateUniversity gives Ohio State affiliates a platform they otherwise wouldn’t have received. The first viewers of the TED conference back in 1990 didn’t foresee the global impact the TED experience could have. They probably didn’t expect the TED experience to discuss topics beyond Technology Entertainment and Design! The experience has evolved to reach viewers in Silicon Valley, California to a Kakuma refugee camp. The spread of ideas is the cell of the mass of TED. Every TED experience is devoted to the spread of ideas, and provides silenced voices a chance to have an impact. Now that you’ve gotten a taste of the evolution of TED and the TED experience. Make sure to view some TED talks this fall break! Below will be some links for more information on TED and the talks mentioned in this post.
Halima Aden’s talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcF6IRpe-Og
Geoffrey Siwo’s talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8dmXC-LSsk
Charlie Todd’s talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooUqOwh-2LE&t=351s