A Review of TED.com

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.

Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • 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!


What is TED.com?

To paraphrase the great Albert Einstein, nobody changed anything by doing things exactly the same way over and over again.  That's why the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference series (commonly known as T.E.D.) brings together some of the best and brightest thinkers from every corner of the globe to spread the latest innovations in the academic and professional worlds, all in a way that the general public can understand.  TED is most well-known for its video lectures, almost all of which are recorded at TED conferences in front of a live audience.  Some lectures are also recorded at smaller, privately-run events and conferences known as "TEDx" conferences.

TED.com is the online branch of this series of conferences.  It contains over 1500 articles and recorded lectures featuring cutting-edge ideas on a large variety of topics, including education, social interactions, leadership, medicine, math, art, language, computers, and more.  What's more, they're written and structured in a way that doesn't require a degree in quantum physics to appreciate.  And best of all, they're absolutely free!

What can I do on TED.com?

Select a video lecture to watch, and then just sit back and keep your eyes, ears, and mind wide open.  TED.com is great whether you're looking for inspiration or a new way of seeing things, or just something to get the conversation going at your next get-together.  Or you can leave a comment on a video to let the TED community know what you think, and start the conversation right away!

Or, if you feel like reading something instead of watching it, you can read thought-provoking essays from contributors to TED.com.  The website can even direct you to places where you can buy books from TED.com contributors, including ones inspired by their videos!

You can even use TED.com to purchase recordings of TED conferences going on right now, or find information on independently-run "TEDx" conferences that deal with topics that you're interested in.  One or more of them might be coming to a city near you!

 

That's TED.com in a nutshell!  Our next tutorial will dive into the pros and cons of the website.