Louis Lafair

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Annotating TED Talks: A New Platform for Interacting with "Ideas Worth Spreading"

I'm a rising senior in high school, and, like many of you, am obsessed with TED Talks. I've been watching the online talks for years, and, more recently, have worked with a remarkable team of TED enthusiasts to organize TEDxYouth@Austin.

My experiences with TED and TEDx, from viewing videos online to conversing with attendees at an event, have been extraordinary.

But what happens after you view a talk? What happens after you attend a TEDx event? Too often, the conversation around an idea fades away.
I think there’s more potential for prolonged community engagement.

There’s now a crowd-sourced, collaborative annotation platform called Rap Genius. It began as a rap site, but has since expanded to include Rock Genius, Poetry Genius, and News Genius.

Last year, my class used the platform to annotate The Great Gatsby (http://poetry.rapgenius.com/1043385). In the past, users have annotated everything from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” to Steve Jobs’ famous commencement address.

With “verified annotations,” experts/speakers can provide their own commentary. For example, Sheryl Sandberg gave the backstory behind the introducation to Lean In (http://news.rapgenius.com/1737950), and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston annotated his MIT commendement speech (http://news.rapgenius.com/1898275).

The transcripts of several TED Talks are already on the site (http://rapgenius.com/albums/Various-artists/Ted-talks).

Anyone can create an account (http://rapgenius.com/signup) and annotate individual lines, whether elaborating on a topic, providing an example, breaking down a theory, linking to relavent material, or offering possible methods for turning ideas into actions.

As TED users/viewers, we’re part of an extensive global community.
I think the Genius platform is an incredible tool for us to interact more with each other and with TED Talks after watching them – to more fully engage in annotation, discussion, and dialogue.
What do you think?

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    Jul 23 2013: I've never heard of this site. It has me incredibly excited and I want to check it out later so I copied your whole post. I'm just replying to say thank you for bringing this platform to my attention.
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    Jul 11 2013: Thank you, I see.
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    Jul 10 2013: I apologize, the whole thing seems quite not clear to me but I would like to understand: is the new platform of use when it comes to closed debates,ideas, etc. also??? I wonder if the comments annotations cannot be placed after conversations like this are closed, I thought they could be ... but still if they can be -those will not be effective, I see. Still can you be more specific, what can we do there that we cannot on ted main platform. Or is it for giving a chance to continue active collaboration for those who are enspired or want to prolong or affect the topics closed? Also, these new platform is considered to be officially as an extension to TED main platform or a separate initiative with common purpose?
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      Jul 10 2013: For the most part, texts on the platform remain open to annotations. However, it's possible to "publish" a text and to limit the number of additional annotations.

      With the annotation platform, we're able to break down specific lines from a talk. For example, in "10 top time-saving tech tips," David Pogue mentions a shortcut that allows you to skip the voicemail instructions. A user can then annotate that specific line with how the shortcut changes based on which phone carrier you use (http://news.rapgenius.com/1714469).

      It's not an official extension to TED. Instead, it's a separate platform that's well-suited to annotating TED Talks.
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    Jul 9 2013: Anything people choose to do to engage about the talks seems like a fine idea.