The Technology, Education and Design is long gone from TED. Wait, maybe not design, but the other have disappeared in a fog of fancy sounding talks with grandiose verbiage and eclectic graphic elements and absolute fluff.
Suddenly, now that everyone realizes that nothing is impossible, it seems inventing ideas and theories and boring people and addressing an audience who paid a pittance (not) to bask in the glory of the elusive epiphany that will capsize their lives the right side up; TED has lost its anchoring.
It started out on principles of learning, sharing and innovating. As more talks and conferences are being organized independently throughout the world, the brand and what it was meant to stand for is being taken for a ride.
By phony people with glossy speaker skills. Another striking feature that makes me squirm is how vulnerable each of these individuals project themselves to be, following every do by the book.
Most of them are a waste of time and even if titles seduce me into streaming them on Youtube, I regret making a fool of myself again and swear on someone’s Richard I won’t, again.
I am on the lookout for good speakers anyway. They do not have to be TED people, but the platform and its visibility is undeniable, not to mention increasingly pretentious.
Good speeches were supposed to convey groundbreaking or changing or revolutionary or different ideas, efforts, concepts or progress to the masses who do not have much channels of access to such information. The Internet proves to be too vast sometimes.
But TED decides to be elitist and makes you pay for it too. [TED tries to answer the question intelligently: Is TED elitist?]
No one argues the availability of these recorded videos or their transcripts or the speakers’ profile or someone’s chances of organizing an independent event. Are the speakers any good? Will they be a worthy addition to the event? What could the audience possibly learn- take back home?
Or wait, will they feel cheated?
Man, I feel cheated almost every other day I watch a TED video.
You’ve probably heard of Susan Cain before. Haven’t? She gave the much popular talk on introverts and how they create meaningful impact in the world in their own ways.
The first time I watched her speak, I was taken aback by how much I identified with her feelings as a child. The impulse to pick a book over a summer camp included.
She is the reason why I and a lot of people figured out that being shy isn’t the same as being an introvert. Going by a universal definition of the word, an introvert is someone who recharges his/her batteries in some form or element of solitude rather than the commonly prescribed group-activity—> relaxation/leisure format.
I am grateful to her for having helped me accept myself; sometimes, I do not see the point in a lot of things one is expected to do and it is okay. There are no helicopter buzzing over my dorm, waiting to take me out because I peel away from the definition of an average person easily.
She went further, sharing how preparing for the talk itself had been a challenge she had decided to embrace. Her spirit caused me to literally get up and move and decide to work on my social skills because The Big Bang Theory doesn’t seem to be looking for any more people to hire.
[I noticed that each time I did not allow myself to think and ‘rushed’ into speaking instead, I fared much better at it. I would initially think myself into believing I;m no good. Ever happened with you?]
So now, I was turning into a braver self who decided to become, for purpose of clarity, a better speaker + listener. Unless you know what the other person is talking about, you can trust yourself to make little sense when you yap.
Over time, I would revisit Cain’s speech for shots of motivation when doubt, lethargy or fear assailed my balloon. Although Susan’s story and her words were liberating, were reassuring at first, they now look to be no better than the massive stereotyping drive on the other side of the river: extroverts.
It is akin to being confined to a box and then being told of the world outside. Labels aren’t very effective if you’re looking to improve, really.
I began to identify myself as an introvert.
Maybe a business card with ‘Introvert’ embossed in pastel would look good.
I was proud of being a person who ‘ recharges his/her batteries in some form or element of solitude rather than the commonly prescribed group-activity—> relaxation/leisure format’.
And then it dawned on me, how stupid I sounded.
Instead of working on things I’m not so stellar at, I decide to embrace a label that encourages me to accept who I am (which is not bad) but also lulls me into comfortable complacency – which is not good.
So when it comes to the introvert vs extrovert debate,
1. I figured I’m bang in the middle of the road
2. I don’t care what I’m called anymore. (#1? Teeheehee.)
Wouldn’t you just rather start working on things than sit by the lake and ponder over your extrovert qualities?
Nevertheless, I came across this in-your-face woman who is superhuman, if you go by her resume. She is witty, she is candid
and loves to hit below the belt if that is what would take for you to pay attention.
She makes sense and talks about something I don’t regret having listened to. She speaks of getting out of the self imposed paralysis we gift ourselves in any situation where we deviate from routine.
In addition, I came across an adorable video on how photography has grown on us and what methods and science it was treated under before Instagram took over.
And of course, there’s Caroline Casey. I haven’t seen all those videos. What TED does isn;t futile either. Let’s hope they recollect why they initiated the movement in the first place.
Do you have any favorite speakers?
At Quora.com: What are the top TED talks that have changed your life or your perspective about some aspect of life?