Two days ago the first Netherlands-based version of the world reknown TED (Technology Design Entertainment) conference was held in Amsterdam. A rich blend of dutch and international speakers covered a wide array of topics ranging from eg architecture, the produce made from pig ingredients, human fears, diversity to sustainability. And inspirational talks and ideas they brought!

TEDx as powerful platform?
As the TED motto rightly says, good ideas are ‘worth spreading’. However a platform for some of the brightest individuals on the planet to my mind is only as effective as the influence one is able to exert as a result of this meeting of the brains and minds. I am convinced that a great deal of valuable networking took place in Amsterdam, contact details were swapped via bluetooth and intentions for new or further collaboration were nurtured on the day of TEDx. Yet wouldn’t TEDx be even more powerful a platform if and when the best ideas on say sustainability would be taken to the next level by the TEDx audience? Here’s where social media could to my mind lend a helping hand.

Social Media around TEDxAms
A brief and pragmatic analysis of the buzz surrounding TEDx Amsterdam was conducted thanks to TED participants and fans using the hashtag #TEDxAms. The analysis was done one day after the event, just before midnight CET November 21st 2009. Some 2810 tweets were made on TEDxAms according to Tweetvolume. The average number of tweets per day according to TwitterVen amounted to 335 for TEDx Amsterdam, somewhat higher than the score for the NY-based event Web 2.0 expo #w2e but frankly speaking not a big difference[1]. The noise generated by a powerful crowd of 400+ TEDx attendees, augmented by their followers, friends and fans objectively could be a lot higher than this. Yet one could argue, quality matters more than quantity. Browsing through the word cloud and some TEDx tweets, it becomes apparent that the majority of tweets either praise the TEDx organisation, reconfirm their happiness with attending the inspiring event or indicate their favourite speaker(s). Using Twitter StreamGraphs and screening for the last 1,000 tweets on TEDxAms, this picture is reconfirmed.

Leveraging social media as catalyst for influence
First of all why not limit the number of TEDx topics and speakers? Or swap the tail-end programme on TEDxUniversity dubbed by speaker @earlybird44 as an afterthought for further in-depth review of the content already on the table? The time won could then be re-allocated to have the TEDx attendees as well as other TED fans around the globe vote realtime and online for the best idea, and have them add their suggestions, contacts and tips as to how to make that best and brightest idea come to fruition. Crowdsourcing then would become a powerful instrument to refining both the best idea and moreover its deployment. Furthermore, assuming the power of social media is better leveraged one could use both the amount of votes for the best idea as well as the general buzz around TEDx to bring to the attention of decision makers or politicians that actually will be discussing next steps on that topic. The ROI/ Return on Ideas would surely benefit. With future TEDx events elsewhere and in Rotterdam, Netherlands coming up, please share your ideas and builds on Twitter or as comment to this blogged line of thought.

 

 


[1] PS Not significantly different/ higher from the combination ‘Frans, Verjaardag (dutch for birthday), Nederland (Netherlands)’ checking the amount of buzz surrounding my father’s 74th birthday yesterday November 21st. That combination’s score amounted to respectively 278, 747 and 2645 tweets ;-).

14 replies
  1. Irina Kremin
    Irina Kremin says:

    Good post and excellent Twitter tools!

    As to the TEDx presentations which I have only seen online, I found them definitely inspiring however also very very broad.
    From my experience, coming back from another similar event: Picnic Amsterdam, you get a lots of good energy, and it last for 2-3 days, after that you don’t do much with it, unless you also learn tools, or “nuts and bolts”, or “how to”. Will be nice to combine both, but I guess it would not be TED any more

    Reply
  2. Irina Kremin
    Irina Kremin says:

    Good post and excellent Twitter tools!

    As to the TEDx presentations which I have only seen online, I found them definitely inspiring however also very very broad.
    From my experience, coming back from another similar event: Picnic Amsterdam, you get a lots of good energy, and it last for 2-3 days, after that you don’t do much with it, unless you also learn tools, or “nuts and bolts”, or “how to”. Will be nice to combine both, but I guess it would not be TED any more 🙂

    Reply
  3. Amy Sample Ward
    Amy Sample Ward says:

    I agree with Irina for the most part.

    I’ve never been to a TED event in person (though, have seen videos online). As someone who is quite “plugged in” or otherwise engaged in the field of social media, it’s a fairly natural inclination to use a similar lens as yours to consider ways the technology could be leveraged during and after an event like TED. Though, I think Irina touches on a good point: “it would not be TED any more.”

    It’s important to consider what the goals are for TED (and I mean specifically the goals of those coordinating and delivering TED events, not the participants – as we know that participants all have very different individual goals for their participation in an event like this). If the goals are to broadcast, inspire, share, then great. If the goals are to make connections, collaborations, and really making things happen right there, then great as well. But, those two separate sets require and enable very different tools to make happen. I think that the ideas you share in this post are focused on what you as an individual participant want out of the event, as well as probably many others working on Projects or hoping to get involved, but I’m not sure if they are exactly inline with the TED goals.

    That was a long way of saying that GOALS always have to come before TOOLS

    Reply
    • phasselsmonning
      phasselsmonning says:

      Thank you Amy. I do agree with you that goals always preceed tools, in fact tools are a mere means to an end. To my opinion, TED(x) should go beyond broadcast and inspiration; it should indeed make things happen. I suppose you and Irina are right in saying it wouldn’t be a TED anymore, since its mission simply is ‘spreading ideas’ – see http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/21

      Reply
      • Amy Sample Ward
        Amy Sample Ward says:

        Exactly. But, that doesn’t mean people who are inspired by the ideas shared at/by TED don’t want to do more, connect more, collaborate more, and make something happen. It might just mean that at that step it’s happening somewhere else? Perhaps that’s part of the strategy behind the TED Community online…

        Reply
  4. Amy Sample Ward
    Amy Sample Ward says:

    I agree with Irina for the most part.

    I’ve never been to a TED event in person (though, have seen videos online). As someone who is quite “plugged in” or otherwise engaged in the field of social media, it’s a fairly natural inclination to use a similar lens as yours to consider ways the technology could be leveraged during and after an event like TED. Though, I think Irina touches on a good point: “it would not be TED any more.”

    It’s important to consider what the goals are for TED (and I mean specifically the goals of those coordinating and delivering TED events, not the participants – as we know that participants all have very different individual goals for their participation in an event like this). If the goals are to broadcast, inspire, share, then great. If the goals are to make connections, collaborations, and really making things happen right there, then great as well. But, those two separate sets require and enable very different tools to make happen. I think that the ideas you share in this post are focused on what you as an individual participant want out of the event, as well as probably many others working on Projects or hoping to get involved, but I’m not sure if they are exactly inline with the TED goals.

    That was a long way of saying that GOALS always have to come before TOOLS 🙂

    Reply
    • paulhasselsmonning
      paulhasselsmonning says:

      Thank you Amy. I do agree with you that goals always preceed tools, in fact tools are a mere means to an end. To my opinion, TED(x) should go beyond broadcast and inspiration; it should indeed make things happen. I suppose you and Irina are right in saying it wouldn’t be a TED anymore, since its mission simply is ‘spreading ideas’ – see http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/21

      Reply
      • Amy Sample Ward
        Amy Sample Ward says:

        Exactly. But, that doesn’t mean people who are inspired by the ideas shared at/by TED don’t want to do more, connect more, collaborate more, and make something happen. It might just mean that at that step it’s happening somewhere else? Perhaps that’s part of the strategy behind the TED Community online…

        Reply
  5. Deron Triff
    Deron Triff says:

    Paul,

    Your findings are fascinating and I could not agree more with your position. Pop!Tech is another example of a masterful organization that is able to bring together some of the best minds in the world at a “closed” conference, but fails to tap into the full power of social media and crowd-sourcing to move inspiring speeches down the value chain to collaboration and action after the conference is long over.

    I own and operate a growing social media platform that connects people who are taking responsibility for changing the world with those who can help them. Using the latest social media technologies, we equip Change Agents with a robust suite of Internet storytelling and mobilization tools – aggregated in a convenient, easy-to-use toolkit – to enable them to deliver their stories, connect with supporters around the world and rally assistance for their initiatives.

    Your insights could be really helpful to us as we take our platform and strategy to the next level in 2010. If you are interested in having a conversation, please contact me (deron@changents.com).

    Thanks again for the post. I will be forwarding to colleagues.

    Deron

    Reply
  6. Deron Triff
    Deron Triff says:

    Paul,

    Your findings are fascinating and I could not agree more with your position. Pop!Tech is another example of a masterful organization that is able to bring together some of the best minds in the world at a “closed” conference, but fails to tap into the full power of social media and crowd-sourcing to move inspiring speeches down the value chain to collaboration and action after the conference is long over.

    I own and operate a growing social media platform that connects people who are taking responsibility for changing the world with those who can help them. Using the latest social media technologies, we equip Change Agents with a robust suite of Internet storytelling and mobilization tools – aggregated in a convenient, easy-to-use toolkit – to enable them to deliver their stories, connect with supporters around the world and rally assistance for their initiatives.

    Your insights could be really helpful to us as we take our platform and strategy to the next level in 2010. If you are interested in having a conversation, please contact me (deron@changents.com).

    Thanks again for the post. I will be forwarding to colleagues.

    Deron

    Reply
  7. Timi Alcala
    Timi Alcala says:

    Thank you for your post. I think it’s definitely a positive development when the general sentiment seems to be ‘what’s next?’. How do we put inspiring ideas into action?

    I guess TEDx Amsterdam in this initial venture chose to focus on what it does best: giving space for inspiring ideas to spread and pollinate. Perhaps that is the main goal at this point. I do think it’s ok for initiatives like TEDxAms to have a main focus and not attempt to do and be everything. The more concrete act of growing ideas and harvesting their fruits lie more in the TEDx community, in my opinion. Of course, TEDx Ams as an organisation should be part of this whole process, but perhaps not necessarily take on the leading role. Initiatives like the Charter of Compassion may spring from TED but become more dynamic in the hands of the community.

    I think the challenge for TEDxAms now is to include this growing sentiment and desire for action in its evaluation of its vision and (community) strategy. What can it concretely do to activate the community / comunities that might be evolving now?

    But this challenge is also extended to the community itself. What are the ways for us to collaborate? How can we leverage this desire to act, to make sure the inspiration does not fade away, and that we not just indulge ourselves in ‘intellectual masturbation’?

    Starting this conversation, as you’ve done, is definitely a step in the right direction.

    Reply
  8. Timi Alcala
    Timi Alcala says:

    Thank you for your post. I think it’s definitely a positive development when the general sentiment seems to be ‘what’s next?’. How do we put inspiring ideas into action?

    I guess TEDx Amsterdam in this initial venture chose to focus on what it does best: giving space for inspiring ideas to spread and pollinate. Perhaps that is the main goal at this point. I do think it’s ok for initiatives like TEDxAms to have a main focus and not attempt to do and be everything. The more concrete act of growing ideas and harvesting their fruits lie more in the TEDx community, in my opinion. Of course, TEDx Ams as an organisation should be part of this whole process, but perhaps not necessarily take on the leading role. Initiatives like the Charter of Compassion may spring from TED but become more dynamic in the hands of the community.

    I think the challenge for TEDxAms now is to include this growing sentiment and desire for action in its evaluation of its vision and (community) strategy. What can it concretely do to activate the community / comunities that might be evolving now?

    But this challenge is also extended to the community itself. What are the ways for us to collaborate? How can we leverage this desire to act, to make sure the inspiration does not fade away, and that we not just indulge ourselves in ‘intellectual masturbation’?

    Starting this conversation, as you’ve done, is definitely a step in the right direction. 😉

    Reply

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