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. 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.
 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 ;-).