Simple Media: meet TED


In the Simple Media series, Palaver will highlight a series of media that are simple – the opposite of a palaver. The websites and forms of media mentioned here offer messages without too much pollution and minimal citation, quotation, and chit chat. 


Simple Media: meet TED

I have a confession to make:

I am a bit of a TED affectionado. 

TED? Yes, you might have heard of it.

What is TED?

TED is a media organisation and online platform where people from all walks of life can share a story or tell and teach the audience about something that has happened to them.

It was founded in 1984 as an annual conference, with strong ties to the then relatively unknown Silicon Valley. As such, ‘TED” stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment, Design”, but is known in reality for covering a much broader range of topics.

What does it do?

The platform hosts event all over the world and thus offer a broad range of topics. Famous people like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (famous writer and feminist), Sting (the musician), Stephan Hawking and Pope Francis have used this medium to advocate a matter that is close to their hearts. Their mission? Spread ideas. Hence their tagline ‘Ideas worth spreading’.


Why should I use it?

TED is an example of the Internet at its best – it allows millions of people to share ideas in an open and clear way, via a common format.

When you are watching a TED talk, there is no polluting of the main message; the only difference between attending a live talk, is that you see it through your screen. The beauty of it of course, is that it is completely adaptable to us, the viewer. In a way, TED works both ways: speakers can choose their topic and we can choose which talk we’d like to see.

  • Want to learn why feminism matters? There’s a couple of TED talks on that.
  • Wondered why we have never found baby dinosaurs? Don’t worry, someone’s been wondering the same thing and discussed it in a TED talk.
  • Don’t know what to do with your life? There an entire playlist dedicated to that one.

Other features from TED’s online platform are its community, many subtitles (hello Dutch friends!), newsletters, and real life events. I myself went to TEDx Glasgow this year, for example, which was a great way to see people speak in real life.

Credit TED homepage. “Ideas worth spreading”

The downsides?

Although TED officially do not operate with a ban on any topics, they do select their speakers with great care – making it potentially biased. Moreover, not every new talk can be found on the front page, which might potentially make it difficult to claim impartiality on TED’s side.

You can find a list of TED’s own ‘myths’ here. I also suggest reading this critique on TED.

However, the bottom line is that when it comes down to filtering out the stories and media you want consume, TED is the perfect first choice to kick off our Simple Media Series: it is easy to use, clear, and you can filter through results easily without falling down the Internet rabbit hole of retweeting and citing.

TED is the perfect first choice to kick off our Simple Media Series

Have a browse and let me know what you think. Have you heard of TED before, or ever attended a TED conference?

xoxo Lisanne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s