Why I’m sick and tired of TED talks and social media!

Why I’m sick and tired of TED talks and social media!

I used to love TED talks; I’ve watched literally hundreds of them. I’ve even delivered one!

I also used to love social media; and I still do sometimes. But I remember a time when it seemed more fun, and enjoyable.

But more and more in recent years I’ve come to dislike and even resent these, and other contemporary platforms. And it’s not because of the increasing hatred and bullying and abuse, although that’s pretty horrible at times. My dislike stems from something else entirely …

… and that’s the unrealistic expectations they create via the artificial simplicity they force. 

Think about it. We all love TED talks because we can learn something new from someone incredibly intelligent or expert in just 20 minutes. But therein lies the rub. By definition, these people are up on that stage because their area of expertise or their experiences are so much more than … 20 minutes!

Happiness, success, vulnerability, politics … these, and most things of interest and value, are all complex; and they’re often messy. Yet we expect someone who often has multiple degrees or decades of experiences to sum all this up nice and neatly in a palatable and consumable package, something we can enjoy on our daily commute!

But that’s not life! At least it’s not real life.

Happiness can’t be achieved via 7 secrets. Success isn’t something that can be planned via 5 tips. You can’t hack your way to health and longevity, at least not simply and easily!

Increasingly, in recent years, I’ve come to realise that a more real and authentic path to pursue in life is one that embraces the messy, one that allows for becoming lost, one that is more likely to take years or even decades, rather than … minutes.

TED talks, Twitter (or X), Instagram, Tic Tok and more, seduce us into thinking we can have it all and learn it all in 60 seconds or so (or in one image). We can’t. And the sooner we stop promoting and enabling such myths and misconceptions, the better for all of us.