TED’s mission of “Ideas Worth Spreading” now reaches far beyond the yearly conferences, encompassing a variety of projects and initiatives that leverage the power of ideas to change the world.
Ideas that are changing the world: The ideas on TED.com are powerful. Our speakers think big—predicting and shaping the future of technology, creating and implementing ingenious solutions to global problems, and innovating in business, science, technology, design and the arts. On TED.com, these thinkers and doers find a platform to share their ideas, inspire others and catalyze astonishing change in every corner of the world.
An extraordinary level of engagement: Watching a TEDTalk is not a passive act — it’s the beginning of a deep interaction with a bold idea. Our commenting system on TED.com allows for spirited conversation around the talks, and our Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivative) lets viewers share them freely. Every day, we watch our audience engage with our content and with one another through email, Twitter, Facebook, and hundreds of thousands of blog posts.
Building momentum through social media: TEDTalks often go viral — gaining wide viewership through “word of mouth” on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and Reddit. When we release a talk, we update our official Facebook page, post to our Twitter streams and upload the video to our YouTube channel, immediately reaching more than 4 million users.
A pattern of explosive growth: At the end of 2006, TEDTalks had been watched 2 million times; by the end of 2011, that number had jumped to 700 million on TED.com alone. This dramatic growth has been driven entirely by audience interest and word-of-mouth (TED doesn’t invest in marketing campaigns). Our talks typically enjoy a viewership on par with programs on cable TV (300,000+ views) – but with deeper engagement – and our most successful talks are watched millions of times. This exposure often has a dramatic impact our speakers. Take neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, whose talk describes her experience of having a stroke: Her talk immediately went viral, and has now been watched over 9 million times. This incredible popularity led to a book deal and a feature film (in production), as well as an invitation to speak on Oprah.
TED Talks single-handedly popularized the phenomenon of brainy programming.