TEDxGeorgetown recap: Why we need moar internets

Despite its clever moniker (Netcetera: the Internet and everything else) TEDxGeorgetown was not about the Internet. It wasn’t even about coping with a chronic illness, Facebook diplomacy, or cat weddings—though these topics hit a little closer to the mark.

What sets TED events apart from most lectures (or speeches, conferences, round tables, etc…) are the speakers themselves and the deeply honest connection they create with their passions and with the audience. The best TED speakers are quite simply inspirational.

After the jump,  check out a full listing of the speakers and topics, plus some other recommended TED talks. We’ll update this post with links to videos of last night’s speakers as they become available.

Many of last night’s standout speakers were Georgetown students. Here are a few of their stories:

Emily Alpert (COL`12), “The Internet and Strange Friends”: A veteran of Vox’s Date Lab experiment, Emily discussed her battle with Ulcerative Colitis and the role that support groups and blogs played in her efforts to cope with what can be a debilitating illness. She talked about how hard it was to find a community where it was ok to discuss the results of her latest colonoscopy, and how the internet was really the only place where this could happen—so inspired by her experience, she has started her own blog to help pass on the knowledge she gained to others. It took a lot of courage to speak about this topic – Emily did an amazing job.

Austin Yoder (COL`11), “The End of New Year’s Resolutions”: Austin described the incredibly thorough process he has undergone to actually keep the goals he has set for himself in 2011; he shared his ambitions with his entire social network to help keep himself accountable (ranging from fairly standard resolution fare to fairly challenging goals like “fall in love” and  “practice radical honesty”), even to the point of publicly documenting every meal eats. Austin’s talk has inspired me to make a list of my own, but I don’t think I’m to the point where I’m going to be blogging about it.

Nick Troiano (COL’12), “How the Internet Can Create a 21st Century Democracy”: Co-founder of myimpact.org and ourpikecounty.org, Nick has spent the last semester working on what sounds like a 2012 iteration of the Unity’08 movement—though he was hesitant to give any further details. Instead he gave what was by far the most polished presentation of the night. He didn’t stumble once during his entire ten-minute presentation on the state of U.S. political parties and the role the Internet can play to staunch political polarization. Some of the speakers at Global TED events supposedly prepare for months before giving their speeches—I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Nick had been preparing for at least that long.

Michael Wang (MSB`07), “The Internet and the Overachieving Millennial”: Until the video of his slam poetry becomes available—check out this transcript of the reading Michael gave with Dr. Porterfield in 2008.

Dr. Jennifer Golbeck, The Internet and Pets: Self-described world’s leading authority on cat weddings. Enough said.

Rahul Singh (SCS`11), “Feeding the Family with the Digital Farm”

Dr. Mike Nelson (visiting CCT professor), “The Internet and Diplomacy”

Pablo Molina (Georgetown’s CIO), The Internet and Virtual Aliens

Trei Brundrett (of SB Nation, CasualHoya), The Internet and the Hunger for Agile Media

Bob Corrigan, The Internet and Citizen Science

Dr. Erran Carmel, The Internet and Time Zones


A Few Non-Georgetown TED recommendations:

Jonathan Harris: The Web’s Secret Stories (featured at TEDxGeorgetown)

Salmon Kahn: Lets use video to reinvent education (featured at TEDxGeorgetown)

Hans Rosling and the Magic Washing Machine

Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce


Feel free to add your own recommendations or thoughts in the comments below.


3 Comments on “TEDxGeorgetown recap: Why we need moar internets

  1. disappointed i missed nick’s presentation. sounds like it was really good.

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