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Author: arvinda Posted On: November 20th, 2012 In:Our Thoughts

After a great media meet with the TEDxLM team yesterday I got to thinking, “where else does family apply?”  The guys did a pretty good job explaining how they’ll be looking at the theme both within the event and local community, but is that theme also reflected in the very nature of what TEDx has become?


TEDx is a pretty recent phenomenon, just getting to four years old now. In this time it’s managed to spread across the globe spawning countless local meetups and communities. Something that’s become quite apparent is that these events aren’t your run-of-the-mill, one-off happenings. Rather they’ve served as a focal point of sorts around which clusters of people, families almost, have started forming.


Maybe it has something to do with the format of the day. Given the non-profit and open nature of the events, organizers have been experimenting with ways to engage the audience and allow the conversation to leap off the stage. Take for example this album showing different live-note-taking methods from a couple events. Or what about this new method of capturing audience sentiment debuted at TEDxSydney using seat-installed mics and special algorithms. Or even, what about hosting an entire event on a boat in the middle of a rainforest to address the theme ‘A better life for all beings’?! It’s a trend that’s been started by TED itself with their elaborate social spaces and innovative audience engagement activities.



Maybe too, it’s just the opportunity for people to take on local topics relevant to their curiousities. The appeal to jump into the global conversation with your own inputs under the banner of ‘ideas worth spreading’ would be plenty to attract persons.


Whatever it is these localized families have been forming and more recently, they’ve started interacting. Organisers regularly share ideas and best practices across countries, borders and cultures. They have been travelling the globe visiting other events and strengthening these bonds. Take for example this recount by fellow Midlands TEDx organiser Anneka, on her journeys through South America. An even more telling example was the 700+ strong group that came together, and lived together, for one week in Doha earlier this year at the TEDxSummit meetup.


It’s these sorts of things that get you thinking of how far you can stretch the concept of family. Is it just our immediate group of close relationships or can it be broadened? Can we look at it as Lara Stein (TEDx Director) puts it here, as a tribe (a social division of people, family, group with something in common) where the clusters we form are no longer limited by our physical locations?


I for one am excited to see how the different speakers will address this theme on Saturday. Looking at the roster, it seems that the team has been able to pull together quite a diverse bunch who are sure to give new insights into that idea of what it means to be ‘family’.




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