Experiencing Live from TED 2013

Amanda Palmer, musician and blogger, at TED2013: The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered.

By AnneTrabue Nelson and Andrea Schenck

If you’re reading this, most likely you have watched a TEDTalk on your computer— or maybe you have enjoyed being part of the audience for a TED or TEDx event. Recently, we attended the TEDxCharleston webcast of four sessions from TED 2013. While we would not dream of giving up the convenience or gained insights from watching TEDTalks on our computers, sharing the experience with a roomful of others totally changed the often solo experience— in part simply by underscoring the sense of community.

Scheduling demands pre-empted the discussion periods post each session that we initially envisioned for the TEDxCharleston presents Live from TED 2013 showing.  But even so, there was something gained by exchanging a knowing smile with a nearby friend or hearing the person next to you say, “Wow.” Lucky for those who saw the web-cast with a friend or met another TED fan to discuss the presentations.

Attendees we talked to who had watched more than one session were at the same time bubbling over with new ideas and impressions and literally full— like how one feels after a Thanksgiving feast— but in head and heart. We both found it hard to describe all that we had learned. That evening having dinner with her husband, AnneTrabue attempted to share the highlights from some of the more than 30 talks and performances— From Ninja yoyos to the possible return of the homing pigeon; a performer truly embraced by her fans: not from selling to them, but from asking for their help; the miraculous medical advancements found when the motivation is love, not profit; and how the little known but globally wide-spread danger of desertification can steadily be reversed by mimicking the patterns of nature to refurbish…in the end she told him, “You’ll just have to watch it.”

You can too, or maybe you want to go back to one of your favorites. This small sampling of the mind-opening topics shared at our TEDxLive event can be found on www.TED.com – just look for the most recent additions.

Even the scientific presentations with atoms and gammas held questions that couldn’t help, but touch one’s heart and soul— inviting us to explore possibilities and the “what ifs” that few imagined possible in our lifetimes, let alone the next step.

Recently, Andrea heard someone suggest that the ideal way to fully internalize a trip was to include a transition period before returning. He opined that the experience could really take root, if one allowed for a separate space and time in which to meld before returning to daily, required routines.

The same seems true with any learning experience such as TED— where others’ experiences and ideas trigger new thoughts and questions for the participant— going beyond the surface of interest to what does that mean to or for me.

Recalling the talks, there are certainly talks we want to go back to watch on TED.com.

Perhaps you have a few noted for later viewing too. If you do, consider inviting a friend or two to watch it with you. Then you have the opportunity to not just notice a new possibility, but to fully explore what it could mean to you. In the spirit of spreading ideas, we also invite you to start or join the discussion here. Post your reactions, impressions and questions from your experience of seeing the talks from TED 2013.