The wildly successful TED conferences, are “immersion events” aimed at facilitating cross fertilization between attendees and speakers to promote inspiration from unlikely places. However, there have recently been questions asked of the quality of TEDx events, and now the TEDx director has gone so far as to post new guidelines for organizers.
TED(Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to what it sees as “ideas worth spreading”. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people but has since become ever broader. In its own words, “TED is best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world”.
The alternative community level, TEDx conferences are planned and coordinated separately from TED events, are cheaper and easier to access, however they are licensed by TED and have a set of guidelines intended to provide the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
TED has also taken action to remove what it sees as talks that have come out of the TEDx movement that it sees as promoting topics attributed to bad science and pseudoscience. In a statement from TEDx Director Lara Stein and TED.com Editor Emily McManus to TEDx organizers, “It is your job, before any speaker is booked, to check them out, and to reject bad science, pseudoscience and health hoaxes. … It is not your audience’s job to figure out if a speaker is offering legitimate science or not. It is your job.”
Since TED and TEDx conferences are meant to showcase people with outside-the-box, life-altering ideas, vetting would seem at once all the more tricky and important for the event organizers. TED has provided a list of “how to’s” in vetting applicants and ask organizers to consider a set of questions and warning signs for bad science and health hoaxes, because in the past they have attracted controversy for some TEDx events.
Just how successful are the TEDx events? Since its beginning, 19,900 TEDxTalks, 54.7 million views of the TEDxTalks on the YouTube channel and the TEDxTalks website
196 talks featured on TED.com and 97 million views of the TEDxTalks featured on TED.com.