TED.com – YouTube With a Purpose
Today, 40Tech is pleased to present a guest post by Anthony Russo, lover of tech, science, and other geeky things.
The Internet has many uses. Business, productivity, social, educational…oh yea, and watching cats play basketball! With all the power of the internet and society behind it, there are numerous sites that you can just sit back and become a chair potato watching videos online. From YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and so on, there is no shortage of video content to watch and pass the time.The level of quality and content of these videos of course varies greatly from site to site and video to video.
In my opinion, the pinnacle of quality video content is hosted on Ted.com. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and it started in 1984 as a small nonprofit conference for people to speak on these subjects. The much more fitting description of the content on the site that has grown from these conferences is in it’s tagline of "Ideas worth Spreading".
While you will be hard pressed to find any LOL cats on TED, you will most likely learn something, or at least open your mind in a new direction. If you are going to waste time watching videos when you should be doing something else, at least waste it with a purpose!
The site has a great Web 2.0 feel to it as the front page is lively with video thumbnails of different sizes arranged in an asymmetrical way and hovering on them reveals details held within. You can filter this page by categories such as Technology, Science, Design, etc. or more interestingly by tags people place on videos such as courageous, inspiring, beautiful or jaw-dropping. When was the last time you saw something jaw-dropping on YouTube?
Videos load quickly and there is a less than 5 second sponsor message in the beginning and end of each talk that you view. The quality is not stellar, but able to go full-screen pretty well on most monitors and still look watchable. Videos also recently are subtitled in a multitude of languages. There is also a social aspect as you can comment and interact with other members in these often thought provoking talks you are absorbing.
Some notable favorite videos of mine and the communities are listed below for your viewing enjoyment:
Stroke victim/brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight as she accounts in striking detail what the experience of having a stroke was like for her…as it happened.
Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity and presents why in a humorous and insightful way
Robert Full: Learning from the gecko’s tail and how nature influences advances in technology.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!) where Gary dumps a boatload of his special kind of motivation and inspiration. (caution, some expletives)
Mary Roach: 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm with an astounding and at times hysterical look (watch for the pig near the end) of one of the touchier subjects to discuss in front of an audience. (possibly NSFW).
I hope the next time you are killing 20 minutes to a few hours in front of your computer not knowing what to do, you browse some of TED and enlighten yourself and share it with others. It can only help us all improve as long as we mix fun dogs in here and there too.