Category Archives: Social Networks

A week of social

Last week, I participated in the TEDActive Project – Social Networks. The purpose was to explore how we might use our social networks to turn inspiration into action.

Monday. We meet, 20 people with experience across different social networks and with roles from journalists to artists to change agents and connectors.

The expertise of the people within the group is astonishing, each of us bringing a “superpower” to the group. As discussion unfolds, we surface questions to explore with the wider TEDActive audience:

  • How might you find what matters to you through your social networks?
  • How do you discover what you can do about the thing(s) that matter to you?
  • How might you tip inspiration into action?
  • How might we tackle big things with human-sized action?
  • How might we nurture your social aura (effectivess, reputation)?
  • How might social networks make you more courageous?
  • How might you move from tweet to street?

Tuesday. I find myself in a random group to share lunch. I say I’m enjoying being a part of the projects and we’re exploring questions like “Do social networks make you more courageous?”. The conversation kicks into gear. While the projects are useful for having a focus and meeting a group during an overwhelming week, they also encourage deeper conversations.

Wednesday: We set about putting an experiment into place. The most difficult part of the project has been finding how to capture our different passions. We’d been charged to develop a set of “micro-actions”, but how do you find a way to draw those differences together in a meaningful way?

Thursday: One minute. Our story.

When I woke this morning and checked my messages, I had a link to a video. The video was made by two Year 12 students, Nile and Hannah from Huntington School in York in the UK. And they made the video to explain why they’re excited to hear about the TEDED program.

They found TEDED through their teacher, who was sent the link by his head of school. The Head of School found out through Sir Ken Robinson who sent out a tweet asking people to support this initiative. Sir Ken sent the tweet because he was messaged by Marcus, a member of our group for whom Sir Ken is a mentor, a personal connection. In a single day, with 9 targeted messages, our group got the TEDED link into 6,017 schools across the US, the UK and Australia.

Rather than proposing a specific micro-action, we are proposing a new micro- philosophy. Know the power of the people in your network, know the way to reach them, and know to ask them to act in a way that matters. Whether it’s showing support for the middle east, participating in JR’s global art project, or spreading TEDED we’re asking you to be deliberate in your social networks. When you share your ideas from this week, we’re asking you to be the signal, not the noise.

Friday and beyond. Amanda Rose summed it up best:

  1. Be yourself. People respond to those with an authentic social media voice.
  2. Listen and give back to your community.
  3. Chose the right social media channel for your message. Consider the audience.
  4. Clearly define what it is you are asking.
  5. Be passionate. Show people how they can be part of something bigger.
  6. Report back. People want to feel valued and hear the impact.

The outcome of TEDActiveSOC project is to ask all TEDsters to take on this micro-philosophy. Make these the Six TED Commandments of Social Networks to turn inspiration into action.

Photos: Michael Brands / TED

Ideas are free. It’s spreading them that is expensive.

I’m a big fan of the concept of “ideas worth spreading,” but I also realize how hard it can be to give a little idea with potential the nudge it needs to flourish in the wider world. One way to be more effective is to see where obstacles and pathways exist.

Before TED, we started gathering tweets with the #tedactive hash tag to see which ideas were rising to the the top (and which were languishing). We can also see who’s driving the conversation (you’ll see our team member @acarvin as the fountainhead for a ton of retweets), and some trends in how great ideas go from theTED stage in Long Beach to making a difference in far flung cities around the globe.

Check it out yourself on this dynamically updating map (thanks to Claude and the team at Nexalogy) and we’d welcome your feedback on how to use this to lower the “cost” of spreading worthwhile ideas!

Social networks — your interpretation?

I love connecting with people! Love meeting them, understanding where they come and what makes them who they are. Through my travels I have met amazing individuals. I was born in Senegal, where for generations, the palaver tree was a symbol of communication, sharing and collaboration throughout Africa — people would gather under its protective shade to listen to stories, share ideas and news and resolve community problems and conflicts. This made me realize while working on the social networks project that we are all connected.

TEDActive is a social network, and for me it’s like the old beautiful tree we see in villages of Africa. I deeply believe that makes a difference to humanity and what makes us safe, strong and able to grow as individuals.

Our social network group has pulled ideas from all around the world, drawing on people’s expertise in documenting Middle Eastern and African issues, understanding markets and mapping humanity. We looked at complexity in online and offline networks, how online reputation or “social aura” is nurtured, and how we can turn inspiration into action. Each of us in the group has chosen one of seven questions which we will ask our fellow attendees and people in our social networks as a way of gathering more insight. And we’ll use your responses to inform human-sized actions we can take at the end of the week to spread inspiration.

Here are some of the questions we asked:

Social networks

And here are some videos:

Are social networks good or evil? You can decide … but we hope it is good, and that maybe each of us, in our own way can make a difference, be courageous, find a purpose and share it.

Together, we have the power to change our world.