Thinking about checking out TED.com to see what new ideas will inspire you? Here's a quick primer on what to expect from the website… and what not to expect.
Few price tags on knowledge — TED.com is, for the most part, free. You don't have to pay any money to watch a video lecture, read an article, or create an account. The only exceptions are buying books from TED contributors or purchasing recordings of TED conferences that are happening right now.
Find what speaks to you — TED.com has video lectures and other articles on a wide variety of topics, including technology, education, leadership, social skills, art, mathematics, and even sometimes comedy. This means that you're bound to find someone talking about something that interests or matters to you.
Enjoy the show — TED's famous video lectures are presented in a condensed format with a professional-looking style that makes them easy to watch, enjoy, and follow along with. Some of the video lectures on TED.com are from smaller, privately-run events called "TEDx" conferences. Check them out… even the humblest and most ordinary of people can have some of the biggest ideas!
Share your insights — If you like what you see, you can leave a comment about what you thought of it, and start a discussion with others who have watched a talk or read an article.
Go beyond the big stage — You can also find thought-provoking articles on TED.com from conference presenters, as well as information on when TED or TEDx conferences might be coming to a city near you!
Let's keep things civil — There are some topics that TED won't cover in the interest of not being seen as politically biased, so don't come to TED.com expecting any liberal-versus-conservative shootouts.
Well, that's just your opinion — Even though TED tries to be politically neutral, there are certain topics that aren't without controversy (especially those in economics, which is closely related to politics). You may not agree with everything you see or read on TED.com, which is fine. But if you want to leave a criticism of something, be aware that comment sections are heavily moderated, so be sure to keep things respectful.
The Bottom Line: 9.5/10
TED.com's free articles and lectures provide an accessible way to learn about and discuss how advances in academic and professional lives are changing the world around us. Some are serious, some are inspiring, and some are funny… but they're all aimed at getting you to look at the world in a way you maybe hadn't thought of before. Hence TED's slogan: "Ideas worth sharing".
But there are certain things you will see and hear on TED.com that you or someone else won't necessarily agree with. There are also certain topics that you won't find talked about by TED.com authors and presenters at all, in the interest of not starting partisan political debates.
Remember, everything on TED.com is a professional opinion that you and any other of the website's users have the right to agree or disagree with just as much as the person who comes up with the argument has the right to share it with others. Keep an open mind, and keep discussions civil. You just might find a new way of thinking about something, or even something that truly inspires you!