What Is a TED Talk?.
A TED talk is a fascinating explanation of the topic Technology, Entertainment or Design (TED) by leading experts in their fields. Well, that was the original idea, but today’s TED Talk has grown to encompass science, philosophy, and just about every other area of Ã¢â‚¬â€¹Ã¢â‚¬â€¹human study.
As such, TED Talks is defined not so much by the subject matter as by how it packages and shares that content. What are TED Talks? Do TED talks have real depth, or are they the fast food of the intellectual world?.
A (Very) Quick History Of TED
TED has been around since 1984! Long before streaming internet video was all the rage. The first conference featured things like the CD and the Apple Macintosh. Despite the intellectual license, innovative ideas and devices, the first TED conference turned out to be a complete financial disaster.
He lost so much money that there would be another six years before his second TED Talk. It will be until the 2000s before TED Talks really take off and the rest is history.
What Makes TED Talks Special?
There is no way to transform a typical TED talk into a repeatable formula, although there are many articles on the web that attempt to analyze the â€œanatomy of a TED talk,â€ usually with the promise that you too can learn to be equally persuasive.
The easiest way to understand the TED style is to get rid of everything. Leaving only the style. That’s exactly what CBC Comedy did in this hilarious stream of TED and TED talks.
Thought Leader Gives Thought Inspiration Speech | CBC Radio (Comedy / Satirical Parody)
Watch this YouTube video
This is not to say that TED Talks are commonplace, far from it! They are usually very informative and introduce a wide audience to challenging ideas and cutting edge research. This is really the strong point of a TED talk. The ability to offer a non-professional audience a clear understanding of complex things is the real value offered by the format.
TED talks also have a strict time limit of 18 minutes. Why exactly 18 minutes? According to TED itself, this is the result of careful, scientifically sound reasoning. However, for various reasons, the length turned out to be quite good. The performers have a timer on stage, so they must make sure to say whatever they need to do in the allotted time. This is enough time to give a rather detailed presentation, but short enough to focus.
The best TED talks feature charismatic speakers who usually have strong humor, awe, inspiration, or other strong emotional background. Many TED presenters have loads of impressive anecdotes to complement the dry statistics they need to show everyone.
It is this powerful combination of entertainment and information that makes any good TED talk so compelling. Even if we are talking about a subject that you are not at all interested in.
TED vs TEDx
TED is a pretty exclusive and very expensive conference. This is why this name only became a household name when conversations were recorded and widely circulated on the net. This is one of the reasons TEDx exists. TEDx talks and conventions are licensed independent events from around the world. They are not organized by TED.
Instead, TED provided permission and guidance to everyone who applied to host TEDx. Many of the best TED talks are actually TEDx talks. For the online viewer, it doesn’t really matter. However, it is important to understand that TEDx can be similar to TED Lite in the sense that you don’t always see the greatest people or the exact same level of product quality.
The Negative Side Of TED Talks
Overall, TED Talks was a positive development in the sense that it piqued the curiosity of the average person and turned some very dry (but important) topics into content to share.
However, there is a downside to TED Talks that everyone should keep in mind when using their content. TED talks tend to simplify difficult questions. They may pretend that the breakout is closer or has fewer problems than it actually is. Thanks to the nature of this polished format, things can appear more impressive than they actually are.
So as impressed, inspired, and enthralled as you are after watching a TED talk, it’s worth doing real research to separate the hype from reality before you come to false conclusions.
Must-See TED Talks
There are hundreds of TED Talks, so it can be difficult to know where to start. However, as longtime TED Talk observers, we can recommend some of the most interesting, mind-blowing, and simply stunning talks that have graced the TED stage. Check out these suggested talks and you’ll love TED.
Do schools kill creativity?
In this amazing video, Sir Ken Robinson challenges us to redefine how we think about education, learning, and intelligence. He claims that we are all smart and creative in our own way, but by the time we were pushed through the industrial education conveyor, everything was washed away.
While much of what Robinson says is controversial, it is a refreshing collapse of the educational system, which is a much more recent invention than many think.
Best stats I’ve ever seen
If you’ve ever taken a statistics course, you know this can be a dry topic. This is why Hans Rosling’s TED talk on statistics became such a famous video. In this amazing piece, Hans shows us how statistics can be visualized to be interesting and informative, and also reveals a shocking amount of conflicting truths about the world.
The new electronic devices that let us run, climb and dance
Hugh Herr gives an inspiring account of how he overcame the loss of both legs and also showcases cutting-edge bionics that literally changes lives. This video was filmed back in 2014, so we can only imagine how much his team has done since then!
History of our world in 18 minutes
The 18 minute limit is tough no matter what topic you’re studying, but David Christian took it personally, using that time to talk about, well, everything . That’s right, from the Big Bang to a series, albeit smaller ones, up to the present day. Stephen Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time looks colossal in comparison!
More than talk
It’s easy to get hung up on all the negative things the Internet seems to carry, but content like TED Talks shows what is possible if you use the medium correctly. Sure, you have to be critical of viewers when the topic is important and not just entertainment, but TED Talks expands our imaginations even when the conversations are not perfect.
Do you have a TED talk that influenced you a lot? Share your recommended videos in the comments and share your thoughts on TED and its impact on the world with us.
What Is a TED Talk?
What Is a TED Talk?