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David Irvine

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Is TED turning into a "my 15 minutes of fame" site?

Recently I have seen, as usual, many inspiring and enlightening TED talks. This is what I use TED for, inspiration, enlightenment and furthering knowledge though great questions and amazing invention as well as many other things.

I do feel, however, there are many more statements that focus on 'I call it' or 'I was nearly in tears', all in their own right maybe entertaining, but not in line with what I watch TED for. I suppose I am saying there is many more talks that highlight speakers rather than the subject matter. Not that highlighting speakers is not great, especially if they are exceptional, however it was always more the subject matter that inspired me.

I feel a wee bit uneasy when speakers are nearly in tears with shacking voices stating how 'if we could only not starve folks, or 'why do these people suffer so'. Now I do feel these talks have a place and an important place, but to me they are in a different genre than Technology, Innovation (Education) and Design.

So do we need two distinct TED streams, a TED one and a compassion, human felling, doing 'right for rights sake' type stream?

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  • Sep 5 2011: Hi David,

    TED has definitely ventured from its original place, yet I consider all the more diversity intriguing. Everything TED is, is entrusted into the speaker. However they choose to talk, and with what tone is simply a matter of the speaker's style, like with all presentations. I don't think that it's becoming 15 minutes of fame, because I think all the different opinions and layers of subjects make the themes of TED as a whole more interesting than ever. Pathos is definitely a speaking style that has been practiced through the ages. Being able to distinguish pathos and logos makes the TED experience more enjoyable, but I'm not sure it's up to TED to decide which falls in which category.

    -Michael

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