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Social media – Seven TED Talks to inspire WHQ readers

Seven TED Talks to inspire WHQ readers

Ben Black nominates his favourite ‘ideas worth spreading’ from the archive of the talks website

I’m always looking for ways to challenge people who say ‘social media is rubbish and a waste of time’. Years ago I realised I had to reply with something more than ‘no it’s not’ and had to show examples. I enjoy digging out interesting things that show that using social media is a fantastic way to help your job and your personal development.

We have all been to a conference and been disappointed by a speaker. As you leave you’re adding up the cost of the ticket and the time you have spent away from your job and feel ripped-off. Imagine if you could watch and be inspired by the world’s best speakers from the comfort of your office desk or iPad in your back garden? The added bonus is that you can also watch them for free.

Let me introduce you to Ted Talks

TED has been running annual conferences since 1990 with the slogan: ‘Ideas worth spreading’. Visit www.ted.com/talks. It is a non-profit devoted to ‘spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less)’. (Source: www.ted.com/about/our-organization) In 2006 the talks started to be shared for free viewing online. The site currently says: ‘1,900+ talks to stir your curiosity’. 

One billions viewers can’t be wrong

In November 2012 the TED website revealed that views on its videos had passed one billion. The stats published then said that videos were being viewed at the rate of 1.5 million time a day. 

Talks for WHQ readers

I had a nose around the easy-to-use Ted Talks library (www.ted.com/talks and searched seven videos I think will be helpful to people who work in housing and regeneration. These are just some tasters to encourage you to search and find ones that will help you. 

1. How we cut youth violence in Boston by 79 percent by Rev. Jeffrey Brown

He opens his talk with: ‘I have learned some of my most important life lessons from drug dealers and gang member and prostitutes.” He shows how listening and not preaching to young people helped them cut youth violence by 79 per cent. 


2. Sir Ken Robinson’s talk ‘How schools kill creativity’ is the most popular Ted Talk of all time.

He makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.


3. My wish: a call for open-source architecture by Cameron Sinclair

He demonstrates how passionate designers and architects can respond to world housing crises.


4. Why domestic violence victims don’t leave by Leslie Morgan Steiner

She was in ‘crazy love’— that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.


5. How to run a company with (almost) no rules by Ricardo Semler

What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?


6. How to start a movement by Derek Sivers

With help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started. (Hint: it takes two.)


7. How to make work-life balance work by Nigel Marsh

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.


Share your TED videos

If you come across any great TED Talks please share them with me on Twitter @benblack 

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