TED Conversations

Michael Williams

This conversation is closed.

The freedom of speech is fundamental, should we allow the freedom to be popular?

Think back to High school, you are really thrown as a person into a social dynamic unlike anything you've been apart of before, but this dynamic will remain almost unchanged as you grow older into adulthood.

With that being said, are we really allowing freedom of speech to trump freedom of popularity and therefor trend setting from just being popular and not from the good things being said.

As you think about this, understand I am trying to point out that there is a divide in our world, and in the 1st world issue of things, a popularity issue.

Most people who have fame, draw an audience and can lead by some unhealthy examples causing rippling effects throughout mankind in ways I am not sure many are starting to see and others have dreaded since high school.

Talk with me now, about how and if not why we should allow the popular / famous people of our day be spoke persons for some dumbing down project of consumerism, where everyday the most highest rated shows are teaching our people how to not critically think, how to properly spend and save, and what ideals to focus on if you want to become successful, not just cater to the human brain like a carrot on a string in front of a donkey.

Ted is a good start, but look around, to compete with the media giants of today more needs to be done.

How do you feel about this topic?

Share:
  • Jun 3 2013: Hi Michael,
    I agree that the media's choice of programming is based on boosting consumerism, and have very little or nothing to do with bettering ourselves as human beings.
    Recently, there was a conversation here about the role of celebrities in charities, did you happen to see it?
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/17636/celebrity_activism_who_ultima.html

    I think celebrities who utilize their fame to generate interest in a way to change the world, should be commended.
    Those who utilize it to fill their own pockets, are despicable. Perhaps these are the kinds you are referring to, when you say "the popular / famous people of our day be spoke persons for some dumbing down project of consumerism". These folks are riding on the success of popularity with no other incentive than to fatten their bank accounts.
    We can't forget, celebrities are constantly trying to advertize themselves, especially when they have clearly had their 'hay day'. Personally, I can see the difference between a celebrity who is fighting for a cause and one who is riding the success for his/her own benefit, from a mile away.
  • thumb
    Jun 2 2013: Mike, do you think that famous people stand up for dumb products? My thought would be that famous people would be very careful about what products they would stand up for, because their reputation becomes entwined with the product, if the product turns out to be bad it would reflect poorly on the famous person who endorsed it. Therefore I would tend to think that famous people somewhat believe in the products they endorse, believe they are good products.

    I never have owned a television, so it's hard for me to comment on TV shows, although I definitely watch some TV when I visit my mom, who lives in the same town as me. I'd have to think as to whether TV really fails to encourage critical thinking. When we watch TV journalists and we see that they dig into a story, in other words when something happens they don't just take what they hear at face value, they start digging to make sure what really happened, what the truth is, it seems to me this would encourage the audience to do the same, wouldn't it, to not take things at face value, but to dig into what they hear, verify, get evidence, ask questions, think things through.

    On the other hand, having to watch all the commercials might cause a person to think they should buy many things, perhaps more than they can afford. But then you can go the other way, and say that even though there are a lot of commercials, it doesn't mean the TV station is encouraging you to buy everything you see. Stations do provide a lot of consumer news and information to help consumers think about spending & saving issues.

    I don't know, I'll have to think about it. Do you find that you spend money poorly, or spend it well? Do you family and friends, in your opinion, spend it poorly or well? It'd be interesting to talk to someone who has gotten themselves into financial trouble, and ask them why it happened.
  • thumb
    Jun 5 2013: The concept of popularity. Where does it all start? I think you've correctly pointed out that it starts in the teenage years. Here's what I think about "being popular" from my current experience as a freshman that has been rather eye opening.

    1. The concept of popularity is constructed by teenagers. The social structure in school is a microcosm that kids create while being influenced by hormones and extreme thoughts and opinions. The "society" in high school is really quite messed up.

    2. What worries me is that this concept of popularity and group identity carries over into adulthood.That the most powerful people in the world are powerful because this teenage concept of popularity trickles down into adulthood is unnerving.

    3. High schools breed demagogues. These are the people who gain popularity at the expense of others. These are the gangleaders who pick on a certain group. These people, as you stated, will "draw an audience and can lead by some unhealthy examples" in the future.

    Essentially, I think popularity is totally ridiculous. Popularity was created by kids as a form of social structure. Social structure in adulthood should not be based on popularity. I don't think some celebrity should be promoting a cause. I think an expert who knows what he's saying should be educating us about how to spend and save, what ideals we should focus on, and whatnot.

    Cheers!
    Michael
  • May 31 2013: "The freedom of speech is fundamental"
    no but.
    • thumb
      May 31 2013: Changed, I'm not a Grammar teacher, nor do I play one on T.V., I went to school in USA, cut me some slack. :)
      Honestly was a typo, or was it freedom? :P
      • Jun 1 2013: I was not commenting on grammar, but on the whole concept of the question.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      May 31 2013: While I do agree that you are the comptroller of your information highway, I'd have to argue that the majority of modern human beings are not as independent as we want to believe. There is a measurable gap in those who seek out knowledge and those who follow what they come across.

      With this understanding, I can't help see ( literally ) Mainstream media changing people's thoughts from decade to decade, influence through fads and popular interest. If gone unchecked or challenged we could very see a bigger population of " drones " so to speak, people who look to others of fame for instruction on what to do and how to do it, the largest " Monkey See, Monkey Do " Ever.

      Of Course no one is forcing anyone to pay attention to these people, or anyone. The fact is, many will simply by ignorance and wanting to " fit in ". Some just won't even care since they feel they cannot do anything about it, and while some can and do influence in good ways, we have more money being pushed towards influences of a negative scale.

      Kudos to you on your homesteading videos, I may have watched a few, Innovation started on the farmstead, most creative folks I've met left the " jones " a while ago and forged their own way of life.