August 3, 2012
"The Naked and the TED"

This article, which is propelling a serious bout of anti-TED, was published online yesterday and appears in the August 23, 2012 issue of The New Republic.

I don’t feel like I know enough about technology (or Technology) to counter or support Evgeny Morozov’s picking apart of the Parag and Ayesha Khanna, but this bit towards the end of the piece really resonated with my recent thoughts. 

"Actually, we suspect people reading TED Books will be trading up rather than down. They’ll be reading a short, compelling book instead of browsing a magazine or doing crossword puzzles. Our goal is to make ideas accessible in a way that matches modern attention spans.” [TED organizers] But surely “modern attention spans” must be resisted, not celebrated. Brevity may be the soul of wit, or of lingerie, but it is not the soul of analysis. The TED ideal of thought is the ideal of the “takeaway”—the shrinkage of thought for people too busy to think. I don’t know if the crossword puzzles are rewiring our brains—I hope TED knows its neuroscience, with all the neuroscientists on its stage—but anyone who is seriously considering reading Hybrid Reality or Smile should also entertain the option of playingAngry Birds or Fruit Ninja.

Well, ain’t that just the stinkin’ dilemma with producing content for digital media? Can’t we just make it convenient? And something we know people will like? Which would make us feel equally good? 

This summer, I spend half of my week in a marketing role and half of my week in an editorial role. It’s no joke that the two spheres naturally feed off each other and perhaps  need to feed off each other in this day and age. Nevertheless I’m apprehensive, walking that fine line.