CEO, Lever Training Ltd

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Why do you TED? And has your reason changed or developed as you use it more

Why do you TED? This question was posed to me by my wife who was intrigued to find out what it is I get from spending time with the TED community. I think it is an interesting question because often we do things in order to find something, or to replace something, or to develop something new. Now we all know what TED sets out to do, and I think it does it very well. But I believe that there are many reasons as to why people TED andmore importantly, I think the reasons why people get involved in TED change and the return on their involvement alters as they develop a deeper association with the TED community

So let me, and others, know why you TED and what you get out of it.

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    Sep 29 2011: Personally, I learn more about the world around me that isn't normally questioned by the people around me. That is the beauty of the internet, we can share ideas so quickly. I'm a thinker, and I like to pool over my thoughts and ideas, but also have a community to share that with. TED is great for that. I don't feel like this is a place where people reject ideas, but where people can validate ideas through research and logic. The internet can perpetuate false information very easily, but I hope that TED can be a place where thorough understanding can be applied. I have yet to watch Ben Goldacre's recent video on "Battling Bad Science," ( but I truly think that is an extremely important video because the title itself says that we should not only be skeptical, but entirely pursuant of truth (not opinion). We, being human beings in general, are all very different, bringing different perspectives and values and opinions together. However, even with the bias that can be present, if we can find things to agree on despite our opinions (because irrefutable fact supports the things we agree on), we can more surely know what is truthful, noble, and correct.

    Also, I love to share what I am viewing with others on this site. It hopefully will encourage others to critically think as well. The American society today seems so caught up in this idea that we always have to be busy with the billions of things fighting for our attention in the media, in daily life, etc. when instead, we should be questioning what we do, and finding out if it is what is right for each of us as well as for those around us.

    Comments on those thoughts?
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    Sep 29 2011: I agree with Stephen Palmer. The interactions of minds on a physical social presence level are bound. People, myself included sometime, fear criticism, open-mindedness, and paradoxical thought. On TED, you are able to give your opinion without an emotion or face attached to any remarks. I am free to discuss what I am thinking at all times without fear of judgement. Creativity and Uniqueness in the social world seem to be symptoms of personality disorders rather than a lifestyle that is embraced. Why are we so physically unable to listen to someone without feeling as though what they said is an attack against our beliefs? If anyone is ever interested in having a conversation that avoids this conflict, please contact me.
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    Sep 29 2011: I TED so that I can get inspired. I TED so that what's impossible seems possible. I TED to realize more and more everyday that we can be united even with our differences.
  • Oct 1 2011: This may be too simplified but I TED to nourish my brain. When it comes to food, you look for good taste, variety, sometimes complexity, sometimes simplicity. TED offers talks in bite sizes of 3-4 minutes and at other times a full course of ~19 minutes. Food = nutrients for the body. TED = nutrients for the grey matter.
    • Oct 1 2011: I don't find this too simplistic at all. Infact it is a very good analogy. It also identifies that TED provides quite a range of ways in which to access and use the platform. I really like the idea of TEDbites. I often search for these to watch over a coffee in the office.
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    Sep 30 2011: "Idea Worth Spreading" that's the motto of TED so

    To get idea
    To deep dig into ideas
    To get insights from others as everyone has own lense to see which my lense might be missing
    To learn from the knowledge of others
    To brainstorm through coversation
    To watch great talks of great people with whom in real life it is difficult to come accross
    To keep great friendships alive now a days lately , as those developed over time by this time

    That's a quite good list already I guess ............
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    Sep 29 2011: I TED to be able to rate a talk 'jaw dropping'. I TED to look for interesting questions with even more interesting responses. I TED for text-versation with people from all over the world. I TED to add my two cents.
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    Sep 29 2011: Curiosity. Enjoyment and pleasure! Fun and entertainment. Learning. TED has always been a go to for a plethora of reasons. The more I TED, however, the more I use it to change the world. By finding relevant material and sharing with friends, we can place ideas worth spreading into the minds and hearts of individuals with the capacity to do great things!
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    Sep 29 2011: I just begun, but, like Stephen, I TED to stay in touch and interact with people that look beyond the surface, are not satisfied with standard answers, and dare to question the status quo. People that are not afraid to change and learn continuously from each other. People that try their best to affect change, and while they do the talk pretty well too, dare to roll up their sleeves and take change in their hands on every day basis.
    TED makes it a lot easier for us to find each other, converse across the miles and culture barriers, and think creatively towards solutions.
    If you can imagine a better world, it is possible.
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    Oct 3 2011: My peers tend to be bored or unwilling when I try to steer the conversation towards something more serious than gossip and popular culture. They're indifferent and often willfully ignorant towards important issues, and Adults never take me seriously or dismiss my arguments by saying I'm merely a child. Thus, since I lack a real life output, I retreat to TED and other communities to express my opinion on more intelligent subjects. This is also the reson I am aiming for a life of academia: To surround myself with intelligent people and be able to talk to them without having to hear that X said Y about Z or A cheated on B.
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    Oct 1 2011: What a great question! I TED to learn and to be inspired. It works, so I keep coming back. There is lots of positive feedback through added benefits of being entertained and challenged. With TED conversations, I would add an element of community with people who are also likely to value learning and inspiration.
    • Oct 2 2011: Hi Debra, Thankyou for taking part. I really recognise the feeling of community that you attribute as an added benefit as I am sure many other do, as a motivating reason for getting involved in Ted discussions.
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    Oct 1 2011: for the people! TEDsters are some of the most fascinating, open minded, and inclusive people I have had the privilege with whom to associate. The ideas, while sometimes lofty, are worthy of aspiration, and demonstrative of human ability.
    • Oct 1 2011: I couldn't agree more. Its so nice to be able to connect with so many people from across so many different cultures and backgrounds. I think that you also support the part of the question that I asked in how has your reasons changed or developed (for using Ted). Like most, and Sherrie and Thomas have identified already, that, in the majority we are drawn to Ted for the talks but find the conversations now central to our developing experiences with Ted.
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    Oct 1 2011: I TED to take in a different perspective, a new point of view. I rarely watch television but find myself drawn to the talks because there is always hope infused regardless of the topic. Where there is hope, there is possibility. In my opinion, where there is possibility there is the opportunity to create a positive outcome.
    I TED because I support the positive.
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    Oct 1 2011: QUOTE: "Why do you TED? And has your reason changed or developed as you use it more"

    Mostly for social and intellectual stimulation. I live in China and do not get to speak English with native speakers very often. And I like talking about "stuff."

    I used to participate in discussions on another site but the calibre of conversation was much less elevated. It was a cycling website - and you can only talk about electrolytes and cramps so often before it gets boring.

    Now, I participate in the conversations more than watching the Talks.
  • Sep 30 2011: I started out using this sight to learn from other people and now I still learn but also talk to a group of very nice people. I hope I can teach people about mental illness on here, it's what I do for a living and I believe the world needs an education on the subject. There are so many myths surrounding the subject that changing one mind at a time is worth it. Having had a mental illness for over 30 years I've taken my fair share of cuts, I would like to see that in the future others don't. TED gives me an outlet to express myself without judgement and I get honest feedback, something you don't always get when talking to a friend or family member. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.
    • Sep 30 2011: Hi James, I find your enthusiasm for your subject area so amazing and it always comes through in your posts. I hope that here, amonst fellow tedsters, you can find a platform to share your experiences and provide an understanding we can all take away and share with others.

      I know that you and I were sharing a dialogue recently before it was taken down, (I hope you got my email) and I hope you will consider posing a question or debate around the myths of mental illness that you say are out there. Mr kindler sir, take the stage, your audience awaits.
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    Sep 30 2011: I started out TEDing (love the usage of the phrase by the way!) for brain food. I love to learn and TED gave me access to world class speakers right on my laptop. I stayed for the company of really interesting people of TED conversations.
    Another reason is that TED helps me really believe that the world can be a better place and that many many people are working hard to improve things.
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    Sep 30 2011: To exercise my brain in this challenging new world ... which basically means I am getting older....but anyway, I enjoy the challenging thoughts and it keeps the juices flowing! :)
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    Sep 29 2011: Why do I TED?

    1. Interaction with other because I don't want to believe in the borders of countries and cultures.
    2. I have a lot to share which I feel shouldn't be limited only to my close acquaintance and family.
    3. Because I'm extremely curious to the point of stupidity I guess sometimes and try to get as much as possible between my ears.
    4. I lived abroad and I miss it now so this is my consolation and a way for me to find new friends and experience the world that is out there hundreds and thousands of miles away.
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    Oct 12 2011: Wayne,
    I have published nearly 100 letters to the editor over the last 20 years and my name is known in Baton Rouge by people who ask, "Are you the Phil Beaver who writes?" when we meet. These days, the paper has an online comment system, but remarks tend to be counterproductive, often bickering, often about a side issue. Thus, there is little chance for me to learn, beyond reading books.
    Also, I have presented talks of about 1 hour length to a few local audiences. My obsession is open-minded thought, which is popular neither among the majority, Bible-belt population nor among the self-dubbed freethinkers. Q&A sessions are antagonistic or practically nothing.
    However, my second conversation on TED: “For the TED Community, ’tolerance’ is Insufficient: I propose ‘respect,’” taught me so much, I was hooked. I have obsessed over "tolerance" for about 7 years, presented a play orchestrated by my friend Hugh Finklea, and never got past “respect.” However, one small TED group took it beyond respect to appreciation, understanding, and attraction. No one wanted “tolerance” and many thought there is not enough “intolerance” exercised by society. In the end, there were five levels of social interaction twelve quality levels and up to thirteen words in each level. Astonishing!
    In summary, I spend time on TED to learn. I start by listening to every related talk I can find, then present my question. I learn so fast!
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    Oct 5 2011: I TED for the intellictual stimulation. My job can be highly stressful at times, but not very fulfilling in terms of discussions (other than the latest iPhone) or conversation (see other note). I've come to look forward to the TED podcasts I download to watch at lunctime (when I get time) and the participation/feedback I get in the Conversations.

    I appreciate TED and have attempted to get others intereseted as well. If they do, great. If not, I'll be back during a break in work tomorrow.
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    Oct 3 2011: Free interplay of ideas is a place where new idea synthesis can occur. This is where minds want to gain traction enough to solve problems.
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    Sep 30 2011: to share my ideas that i imagine are worth spreading. i thought thats what this was for.
  • Sep 30 2011: I think it would only be fair to say why I Ted. After all I posed the question!

    I came across TED after looking for more information on Ken Robinson as I was researching a paper for my Masters Degree. I was pointed to Ted by my browser and lo and behold a whole new world opened up. I was excited about what I had come across, here was a place where I could indulge my passions and interests and find out as much or as little information that I wanted, when I wanted. In posing the question I suggested that we ted to find something or to replace something and for me, Ted was fulfilling a need I had (and still have) for knowledge and good discussion.

    I agree with Stephen that, through the conversations, I feel I can add something to global discussions without feelingt hat I will be challenged or ridiculed negatively. Here is a truyu global platform that brings individuals together from across the globe to enter into good discussion and debate that will hopefully change the world for the better and deliver greater understanding of the issues of the day. Those issues change daily and affect us all in different ways and the fact that we can all take part in shaping those issues, blows me away.

    Ted to me is a form of networking that is socially responsible and empowering.
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      Sep 30 2011: Hi Wayne,
      Did I tell you that I am glad you are here? It is true.
      I find that in my day to day life not many people want to talk about the things we discuss on TED and I am grateful for the outlet and the chance to learn other's perspectives and share my own. I too love the way we can peaceful exchange views and feel that it is really important that we act as a TED community to preserve that civility and openness because we have something amazingly rare here.
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      Oct 1 2011: Ditto! That's TED for me!