Monthly Archives: November 2012

Yup, that’s right… more about TED Talks

If you’ve looked at my posts at all in the past couple weeks, you should have some cognizance of TED Talks… If not, don’t worry, I’ll copy-and-paste again:

“If you don’t know what TED Talks are, they are talks in which one person speaks, sometimes with visual aids, for about 20 minutes about a certain subject. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, & Design. The talks are meant to be informative and entertaining. Many discuss a certain issue to raise awareness or propose a solution.”

If you’ve seen my blog lately, you probably also know that I’m giving my own quick TED Talk in one of my Communications classes. Well, this just in, I’m now giving two TED Talks – one in each of my Communications classes.

This second talk is in a course called Ethics in Communications. So, logically, my talk will address a certain ethical matter when it comes to communications technology. That being the case, I looked over all my potential topics for my first TED Talk (lacrosse; whitewater kayaking; Spanish; language learning in general; my fraternity) and threw them all out the window.

However, I think I’ve come up with an idea.

This time, I wanted my talk to center around a story, something with some chronology that might hold my audience’s attention well. (I realize, of course, that my audience is a class that isn’t listening to me anyway because they’re all rehearsing their own talks in their heads… but I’ll try to draw them in anyway.)

I studied abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain. For about 99% of my time there, I didn’t have a working phone. I don’t know if the phone was faulty or if I just wasn’t smart enough to figure the darned thing out, but either way I was, at times, communications-less.

It actually caused a couple pretty drastic changes in my lifestyle.

 This is pretty much what my international phone from my trip looked like. Hello, 90s!

So, for my Ethics TED Talk:

  1. Central Idea: Giving ourselves some distance from communications technologies, social media, etc. is healthy. We get so caught up in those things that they consume our lives to a certain degree. It does our brains good to get some rest from all the texts and tweets and wall posts sometimes. Furthermore, it’s relaxing! It feels so good to sit back and have some personal quiet time instead of always being ready to respond to 50 different people at once. Even when it comes to getting work done, communications technologies and social media are huge distractions, and it’s nice to liberate ourselves and be able to focus and finish what needs to get done.
  2. Catchphrase: It’s fine to answer your phone, but you shouldn’t have to answer to your phone. Similarly, it’s okay to make a call on your phone, but you don’t need to be on call for your phone.
  3. Opening my talk: I will open with the account of my time abroad in Spain. I will tell stories of things that happened due to the fact that I didn’t have a phone. (Spoiler alert: Some of these stories might be funny, and some could be catastrophic!)
  4. Post-opening: I will talk about what I learned from not having a phone that whole time. I will weigh the positives with the negatives, the benefits with the disasters. Basically, I will discuss the implications of having a less-proactive role when it comes to communications. I am still working out how to make this section into a clever little quip – probably a mnemonic – so that it sticks with the audience.
  5. Speech body: The structure of my talk will be a bit of a hybrid between situation-complication-situation and idea-concepts. It will be “situation-complication-situation” because the audience will hear the story, see what changed by not having a phone, and understand why that is good or bad. It will be “idea-concepts” because it will be almost like a little list of situations that can arise without access to communications-technology, and each story will have its own quick lesson.
  6. Concluding my talk: I will conclude my talk with a challenge to the audience: that they just try stepping back from communications technologies/social media/etc. – not necessarily all the way, but that they use it substantially less than is normal for them. I will challenge them that, if the really make an effort to do this, they might discover that life is a little more enjoyable without the buzz of a phone following them around constantly.
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Why Higher Education Is Not for Everybody… and It’s Not Necessary

It seems like everyone these days is going to a four-year college (and oftentimes grad school after that) in order to get a desk job and work their way up the corporate ladder. But meanwhile, what’s happening to all the labor jobs? Many Americans don’t even consider them when choosing a career path. My TED Talk will explain why these jobs should be valued more. Many people don’t realize the benefits and high pay they offer. Additionally, they provide a huge job market for the unemployed. In today’s economy, we should not consider ourselves to be above these jobs.

My Own TED Talk

If you’ve read my blog before, you might have learned what TED Talks are. If not, I’ll make it easy and copy-and-paste the explanation:
(If you don’t know what TED Talks are, they are talks in which one person speaks, sometimes with visual aids, for about 20 minutes about a certain subject. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, & Design. The talks are meant to be informative and entertaining. Many discuss a certain issue to raise awareness or propose a solution.)

For one of my Communications Studies classes, I have to give my own quick, 5-minute TED Talk.

When the talk was assigned, I was very nervous about coming up with a topic. Our instructor’s biggest advice was to talk about something about which we’re passionate.

This started me off thinking about my hobbies and interests: lacrosse; whitewater kayaking; Spanish; language learning in general; my fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha).

Some of these ideas provide potential opportunities for the talk. However, the next advice was to make sure to engage our audience. While I am passionate about the aforementioned things, it is not likely that these topics will reach many of my listeners on a real level.

Therefore, I needed to come up with something else. That’s when I remembered the TED Talk given by Mike Rowe. (I wrote about it in my blog post The Craft of Storytelling.) One major theme of his talk is how the importance of “dirty jobs” is overlooked.

From there, I came up with the topic for my talk: Higher education is not necessary, and it’s not for everybody.

This is to say that it has become expected for most people nowadays to go to college, get a degree, then to go to grad school and get a Master’s, and from there to get a desk job and try to work their way up to CEO. My talk will dispell the perceived unimportance of laborous jobs (e.g. plumber, electrician, truck driver, etc.) and highlight the positives of them (of which there are many!).

More to come as my ideas develop…