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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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