But then, isn't that kind of what TED does for a certain self-selecting — largely well-educated and well-off — group? Sure, TED is a non-profit, and TEDx events are organized and coordinated independently. There's no stereotypical corporate manipulation at play here. But there's no denying that the TED "philosophy" creates a brand for its adherents. That brand includes some degree of intellectual curiosity. It also imparts some smugness.

After lunch on Saturday, TEDxDirigo executive producer Janice O'Rourke, a leadership coach and theater artist, invited five audience members to join her on stage. During the lunch break, attendees had been invited to write down, on a postcard, some thoughts about the conference; O'Rourke and her helpers were tasked with reading aloud an anonymous selection of cards. One of the respondents had written: "These are my people."

My people. There's an underlying suggestion that TED-ers are the chosen ones, that they are an exclusive group. That merely by attending a conference at which motivated experts talk about changing the world, one is, in fact, part of a movement to effect change. (That the ted.com website has a special page devoted to answering the question, "Is TED elitist?" should tell you something.)

I love watching TEDTalks online (ted.com/talks) and I encourage those who didn't attend TEDxDirigo: Engage to seek out Saturday's talks once they're posted online (tedxdirigo.com). Spreading ideas is a worthwhile endeavor, but access, inclusivity, and humility are important too.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: This Just In , Cathy Plourde, Ned Swain, TALKS,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE  |  July 24, 2014
    When three theater companies, all within a one-hour drive of Portland, choose to present the same Shakespeare play on overlapping dates, you have to wonder what about that particular show resonates with this particular moment.
  •   NUMBER CRUNCHERS  |  July 23, 2014
    Maybe instead of devoting still-more resources to food reviews, Maine’s leading news organizations should spend money on keeping better tabs on Augusta.
  •   BLUESTOCKING FILM SERIES SHOWCASES WOMEN'S STORIES  |  July 16, 2014
    Among last year’s 100 top-grossing films, women represented just 15 percent of protagonists, and less than one-third of total characters.
  •   CHECKING IN: THE NEW GUARD AND THE WRITER'S HOTEL  |  July 11, 2014
    Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out.
  •   NO TAR SANDS  |  July 10, 2014
    “People’s feelings are clear...they don’t want to be known as the tar sands capitol of the United States."

 See all articles by: DEIRDRE FULTON