TED Conversations

Sarah Shewey

CEO/Founder, Happily


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How do you move inspiration into action? *A TEDActive Social Networks Project*


At TEDActive2011 in Palm Springs, an amazing group of individuals came together as a team to come up with a simple micro-action solution for finding a way to move inspiration into action through social networks. After a quick 36 hour period of time, they told us this story:

When I woke this morning and checked my messages, I had a link to a video. The video was made by two Year 12 students, Nile and Hannah from Huntington School in York in the UK. And they made the video to explain why they’re excited to hear about the TEDED program. (education.ted.com)

They found TEDED through their teacher, who was sent the link by his head of school. The Head of School found out through Sir Ken Robinson who sent out a tweet asking people to support this initiative. Sir Ken sent the tweet because he was messaged by Marcus, a member of our group for whom Sir Ken is a mentor, a personal connection. In a single day, with 9 targeted messages, our group got the TEDED link into 6,017 schools across the US, the UK and Australia.

Rather than proposing a specific micro-action, we are proposing a new micro- philosophy. Know the power of the people in your network, know the way to reach them, and know to ask them to act in a way that matters. Whether it’s showing support for the middle east, participating in JR’s global art project, or spreading TEDED we’re asking you to be deliberate in your social networks.

When you share your ideas from this week, we’re asking you to be the signal, not the noise.

What are some other ways that you can move inspiration into action?

Please comment below or tag any new conversations with TEDActiveSOC so that we can join in!


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    Apr 4 2011: This may sound extremely simplistic, but, I can assure you that it can and has worked. Let's use me as an example. I have an un-dying inspiration to see a major change in X. However, my inspiration will not accomplish anything other than being in a stack of things which I really never went after. You see, I had inspiration, I assumed someone, someone else would turn that to action. How wrong I was.

    Now, when I am involved in a topic/problem where I have great inspiration, I first find out what I can do JUST by myself. I have to start the process. I then go to my friends, not my friends with whom I hang out and just have a nice time, but the friends who challenge me in my thinking and I do the same to them. I let them see my inspiration, then I show them the action I have taken to date. Assuming, and this is usually the case for me, these special friends also have the inspiration, but, they are busy, have families, work a lot and so on, leading them to leave it all off at inspiration. However, this time I don't let them off of the hook. I ask them to choose a simple action which will help keep the action in play, moving forward. I also ask them to bring in their friends and family, lets see if the talk can really become the walk.

    If I don't overload them and have them thinking that only the eight of us will change the issue for the better, then I am on my way. I ask them who can help them with the tasks we have undertaken. We set up a an ad-hoc committee to make sure that our goals are correct for not only the issue, but the region of the country or planet. Regional answers are often a way to make forward progress. I then try to set up a Social Nation, using the many tools which let us set up our own social network where we can share in our progress and our lack of progress. It is where we can bring in new members to get them excited about being on the front line of change. It works, but, I go back to the beginning. I must start the action.
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      May 2 2011: Stephen, I like the sound of a "Social Nation" ... what does that look like when it's created? I'm curious to know more.

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