TEDx: The Phenomenon of Virtual Knowledge
“I’m an unreasonable person. And if TED is anything, it is the Olympics of unreasonable people.” – Bob Geldof, Musician and anti-poverty activist
The annual TED Conference, dedicated to “ideas worth spreading,” has become one of the most influential, exclusive and widely watched events each year. TED stands for Technology, Education and Design, and the conference brings together innovators and thought leaders from a number of creative fields to learn from each other and hear riveting talks from some of the world’s brightest minds.
But more than becoming just another hobnobbing session for the elite, TED has broadened its mission by creating TEDx, local community events that bring the spirit of TED to hundreds of other cities around the world. Even if you don’t have the money or connections to get a seat at the top-dollar, star-studded TED Conference, it is possible for thousands of people to participate in TEDx events at their local level. And all of the TED talks are available for free, online.
TEDx is transforming the idea of knowledge by making it virtual, free and available online anytime anywhere in the world. Here are a few lessons from TEDx that virtual event organizers can take back to their own virtual event planning:
- TEDx gets added power because it is a hybrid event: TEDx is not just a virtual event or a traditional in-person event; it is a hybrid event with features of both types of events. TEDx attendees get to have a certain experience from being in-person in the audience, hearing the talks live and benefiting from the networking. But anyone anywhere can “attend” a TED or TEDx talk by way of live streaming (or by watching the videos online in perpetuity after the event is over). Virtual events can give your organization additional reach to connect with a wider range of customers and audience members. If only 5% of your audience can attend an in-person event, using virtual event platform technology can help you reach the other 95% of your audience.
- Reward attendees with different levels of involvement and access: In a world where any event can be streamed online, what is the value of the in-person experience? There’s a reason why so many people spend thousands of dollars to be able to attend the TED conference: it’s because there are valuable interactions and networking that happen by being close to the action and in the audience for the live presentations. If you are hosting a hybrid virtual event, perhaps you could have a few tiers of access to exclusive content or exclusive experiences. Reward your most valuable customers or your most important audiences with event previews, special VIP events, or the ability to help shape the direction of the event by contributing ideas for content. Virtual events platform providers like Social27 can help you design a customized Virtual event experience that offers various levels of involvement and special perks for your most important audiences.
- Make it a cause: The most successful virtual events are more than just a dry recitation of speeches and technical details. They’re powerful calls to action that mobilize an audience and connect with people on an emotional level. TEDx capitalizes on this aspect of virtual events by making people feel connected to a larger community of innovators and thought leaders. TEDx events are locally organized but supported by a larger organization that can potentially deliver high visibility to the TEDx talks that happen on the local level – many TEDx talks get re-posted and shared with millions of visitors to the TED website. This means that any local TEDx presentation can potentially earn a much higher profile. In the same way, what can you do to help your remote virtual event attendees feel more connected to what is happening at the central “in-person” location? What can you do to give your virtual event a life of its own that lasts long beyond the event date?
TED has taken the idea of a simple speech or PowerPoint presentation and transformed it into a 24-hour online rock concert. How can you take your virtual events to the next level of excitement, involvement and lasting impact?
Join the conversation. Agree with me? Good. Disagree? Even Better! Tell me why…
Have you ever attended a TEDx event in your local area? What was most impressive to you about how the event was organized? What are some of your favorite TED talks?
Host your own virtual event:
Interested in hosting your own virtual event? Social27 has been enabling organizations across all industries and sizes to host their own engaging virtual events since 2010.
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