[Edit: This is the first time I’ve read this since I wrote this back in May and yep, I still agree with much of what I wrote below. I don’t know why I didn’t post this until now, but when I espoused these opinions via Twitter, several people said I should ahve given it a chance before knocking it to the ground. Perhaps they’re right. So next year I’ll attend and see if my vitrol changes. There was also some hubbub about money with TedXGR and there were also major concerns about one of the TedX board members whose ideologies seemed conflicted with the spirit of TED.- Lisa, July 23, 2012]
Like many other edgier creative types, I am a ticketholder for the TEDx event that is currently happening right now in downtown Grand Rapids. But instead of being rapt in admiration or wondrous belief at the current speaker on stage, I’m taking off to see The Avengers and then I’m heading out to get a mani/pedi afterwards. Then instead of the after party down at the Pyramid Scheme where I could mix with other edgier creative types (read: white people), my husband will then grill filet mignons we’ve had aging in the fridge for the last week and perhaps get drunk on the bottle of mid-range champagne we purchased for our recent anniversary.
Tickets for the event were competitive AND expensive ($115 which also included a forced lunch option, which pissed me off), so willingly giving up something I’ve seen other people badly desire (and I offered to give them my ticket and received no response) seems all kinds of foolish. And on top of that, there is all kinds of fiscal stupidity for blowing that kind of cash on something I’m not following through. Plus you know, I may have actually, might have had a good time!
So then why?
I couldn’t be arsed to be with a roomful of people who were all dying to talk to me (per TEDxGR’s emails that they would be) while dressed creativity (again per TEDxGR’s email) and we were to talk about SPREADING BIG IDEAS and networking like crazy. Truthfully, the concept makes me want to bitchslap people.
A year ago, I would have given an eyetooth to attend the inaugural TEDxGR event if finances were willing. However, I feel the problem is as a society, we’re so overwhelmed with ideas on a daily basis, saturated beyond the tipping point, our language is no longer about carrying and putting these ideas to work but about how much jargon we can extraopolate from the current set of buzzwords while pretending we all look incredibly smart and well read. BECAUSE WE ARE SPREADING IDEAS. The library world has had its own share of TEDx-esque hypsters who are all about MAKING SHIT HAPPEN but you never hear about the outcome of SHIT ACTUALLY BEING MADE. We all want to buy into the idea propmachine that we’re creating and curating new content by becoming change agents to maxmimize our world.
I have no idea what that last sentence actually means but it’s a pretty good jist of what I’m against.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the concept of TED is wonderful. I think there is a lot of good that TED and some of the TEDx events bring to the world. I watch zillions of TED videos and podcasts. But it gets to the point, again, with the oversaturation being pushed by consumeristic media that we all must think these big thoughts that we never actually get anything done.
Can we actually stop having big thinks and put those thinks into practice?
The children will thank you.