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Three TED Talks, by Elizabeth Miller

During the month of April, I tried to watch 30 TED talks in 30 days. TED, for those who don’t know, is an annual gathering of some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers out in Long Beach, California. Standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, the conference usually consist of 50+ talks over four days that allows speakers and attendees to discuss a wide variety of topics. Most talks are about 20-25 minutes long.

Touted as “the ultimate brain spa” and a “4-day journey into the future,” the original conference has grown to include TED-sponsored activities all over the world and on a variety of more specialized topics (the environment, young people etc).

The conference has come a long way since it first debuted in 1984. You can read more abut TED’s history online. These days, it posts most of the talks by featured speakers online (though not right away), which is what motivated me to watch them from the comfort of my own home.

I didn’t quite get to 30 talks in 30 days. I probably watched more like 15, but these are my three favorites, on quite different topics.


Susan Cain: The power of introverts:

Are you an introvert or know someone who is? This is a must watch. This one resonated with me so much, I ran out and bought (OK downloaded on my Kindle) Cain’s book on the subject “QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a world That Can’t Stop Talking.”


Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

Turkle is author of several books about the impact of technology on society and someone I studied heavily for my final MA exam in communications a few years ago). Here, she asks the question, as we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? She examines how our mobile devices and online personals are changing human connection and communication.


Jer Thorp: Make data more human

Thorp is currently the data artist in residence at the New York Times. His work focuses on adding meaning and narrative to large amounts of data. Here, at a TEDx event in Vancouver, he talks about some of his projects which include graphing an entire year’s new cycle, to mapping the way people share articles online.