TEDx regional lens project 2012

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At TEDxSummit, project groups were formed to make proposals to TED. The one I joined made a proposal to introduce regional lens websites: TEDx websites in native languages and focusing on relevant and regional TEDx-events and -talks. In our case: “TEDx in Nederland en in het Nederlands” treating the Netherlands and Flanders as a region.

Not to be mixed up with a TEDxNetherlands – this is not what we mean. We propose an online aggregation and overview per region, not a regional TEDx event.

TED and TEDx are mainly in English
TED, and TEDx as well, have been English dominated events until now. In some regions the English language is withholding ideas to spread. There simply aren’t enough people that speak English good enough for ideas to lift off or the majority of the people living in the region English is at best their second language.In some cases, TEDx events are already having talks in native languages and a lot of the (English) talks are translated (and subtitled) in non-English languages.

Of course, English is not the only world language. Historical world languages include Sumerian, Akkadian, Old Aramaic, Koine Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian and English.

Why regional websites?
The main issues we want to address in the regional lens projects are:

  • How can we, as TEDx organizers, collaborate and connect to other TEDx organizers (in the same region)?
  • How can we help you find TEDx events that are happening in the near future in the region near you?
  • How can we be able to showcase regional pride by focusing on regional content (and language)?
  • How can we spread TED and TEDx in non-English speaking countries better than we are able to do now?
  • How can we facilitate regional knowledge sharing?
  • How can local collaboration be approached more structurally?
  • How can we help organizers to share knowledge and best practices?

What is a region?
The conclusion is that people are bonded by the region and or the language they share. This does not oppose the wish to collaborate beyond regional boundaries, it’s a shared value. The region issue was one of the most important discussions we had during TEDxSummit. We came up with a solution for multiple possibilities to define a region:

  • Standard – region and language is the same (for instance France)
  • Multilingual – a country has more than one language (for instance Canada)
  • Multinational – a group of countries sharing a language (for instance Arabic in North Africa)

Scope and functionalities
Not every feature in the proposal is represented here. This is meant to provide a baseline prototype portal that can be duplicated, and added to (or subtracted from). As portals multiply, each region can openly see what has been created, and continually improve and evolve the initiative.

  • In local language(s) (way to select languages if multiple in that region/country)
  • exposure of all other instances of potral
  • Framework to easily duplicate portal to create a new instance
  • Calendar & Map (with timeline?)
    • TEDx events
    • TEDx organizer workshops
    • meetups
  • Curated Video/Talk playlist
  • What is TEDx?
    • What is the TED mission
    • FAQ
    • How to get involved and help out
  • Individual TEDx pages
    • Overview info
    • Contacts
    • Schedule, etc
  • Forum
  • Resources & Toolkit
    • How to’s (production, curating, how to start a tedx, run a tedx, etc)
    • Speaker lists
    • Sponsor list
    • Templates (program, site, logos, etc)
    • Users can upload new content to resource pool
  • Live event state of front page (“happening now”) with livestream
    • plus featured talks from that event

The regional websites have to be maintained by a small group of people that are organized in an editorial board. Most of the content comes from TED.com and needs only to be curated by the regional team. The curation of the content is only focused on which content is shown in which order.

Issues that still have to addressed are: technical maintenance, webmastering (creating sections, tags, publishing etc), community management.

We propose to name these websites: “TEDx in #regionname#” and use the TEDx url (is not used now apart from redirection to www.ted.com/tedx. To use the regions mentioned:

  • TEDx in France: www.France.TEDx.com
  • TEDx in Canada: www.Canada.TEDx.com
  • TEDx in Arabia: www.Arabia.TEDx.com

Because we propose to make the portals in the regional languages, we also propose to make the websites in Chinese writing or Arabic possible (also the possibility for layout from right to left reading)

Some of the editorial work on the regional websites needs to be funded. We propose to look for regional sponsors. This sponsor (or sponsors) is not automatically sponsor for one of the regional TEDx events

On stage
One of our project leaders, Tony Yet, presented the regional lens proposal at TEDxSummit. You can see his great performance here.