What is the saying? — The best thing since sliced bread? It could be the skeptic in me, but anytime I hear people talking about something and how great it is, and it seems to have a cultish following, it raises my skepticism.
Such is my impression of the movement known as TED. There is a lot of stuff that seems good and worthwhile, and even noble about the things they talk about and the things they do. But when so many people fall on the bandwagon the way I have seen it in certain circles, it begins to make me wonder.
For example, in one of my online master’s classes, I was part of a group that needed to put together a powerpoint presentation on a certain subject. We had much of the content together, but were looking for a good video clip to be an introductory tag. I came up with something related — a clip from an old movie, entertaining, humorous — but the rest of the group didn’t even seem to acknowledge my suggestion.
Instead they started obsessing about this TED talk clip someone had found. After all, as one said, “if it is TED, it has to be good.” But when I watched it I was bored to tears. I had Betsy watch it. She agreed. This great TED presentation was a fairly non-charismatic speaker doing a poor reading of his powerpoint presentation, instead of giving us something stimulating and interesting. And yet the other class members seemed to think it was “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
I’m not sure how we eventually decided not to use it. But we eventually went for something even shorter and hokily PC.
So what exactly is TED? I picked up the below description from its website:
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.