The Appeal and Allure of TEDtalks

I think that the most culturally appealing parts of TED are 1) the sex appeal of having the top thinkers, doers, and celebrities in the same place sharing ideas to collectively move the ball forward for the betterment of humanity and 2) the subconscious reality that we all have intuitively thought or felt similar things in life, but did not have the expertise, courage, or platform to say them.  We are all drawn to people who somehow find ways to poignantly say the things we would like to, but can’t. They manage to strike a visceral feeling within us when we hear them say something we agree with. We’ve known this for years, from comedians to politicians. In many ways, there’s a vicarious element to every talk. What’s appealing at the core is that we can see there are others around the world who think and feel the same way about issues facing humanity.  TED is a platform for people to share ideas and I believe that it’s popularity has continued to grow because it is a comfortable environment for people to accept and participate in the dialogue. No matter how discomforting, difficult, or counterintuitive a talk may be, TED’s magic makes it less of a hard pill to swallow. TED turns the mirror on the human condition and points out the simple realities making change possible. As we can see, it really is HOW you say it that makes the difference. And for TED, that ‘how’ is driven by passion and ethos.

Speakers like Jamie Oliver have spoken out quite clairvoyantly about issues I believe we have all felt in one way or another. Yes, the food system within U.S. schools has drastically dropped the ball attempting to nutritiously feed our youth. It took a driven and experienced food expert passionate about changing the broken system matched up with a global platform like TED to raise awareness where local newspapers, magazines, and even PTA’s could not reach critical mass to make people rethink something so obvious…and simple.

I’m looking forward to the numerous speakers lined up for TED2011 who are going to point out issues in our education system. Watch for the Khan Academy this year to really force people to rethink how they and their children learn.

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~ by Adam Maikkula on January 16, 2011.

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