TED is a social platform based on ideas. Where Kickstarter is based on projects, Threadless is based on clothing and Facebook is based on social contacts, TED focusses on ideas. It gives people the opportunity to share ideas, and comment on them. These ideas are in the form of talks (TED Talks to be precise). These talks are mostly conferences about certain ideas that scientists have. An example is a talk from Johanna Blakley about the downfall of gender due to social media.
She argues that the gender based advertising is going to decline due to the fact that social media targets persons, and not groups of persons. This idea can be very interesting to some people. This is mostly discussed in the comments, right below the video. But even more, there is a special TED Conversations page in the navigation bar of the site, which allows users to start their own discussions. Say for instance you agree with what Johanna’s view on the change in society. This can be brought up in these discussion groups, in which everyone can agree or disagree with the starter. It also gives a structured view of comments, so you can see who is reacting to whom. Basically, it offers a platform to debate certain ideas that users of TED have. Of course, the ideas that you have don’t have to based upon the TED Talks, you can also put in your own thoughts (which most users do).
Something new on TED is TED-Ed. This is short for TED Education. These are not ideas worth spreading, but lessons worth spreading. So basically, if you think a certain lecture is good, and you want to share it with everyone, you can recommend it on TED-Ed. The beauty of this platform is that it offers a lecture (in the form of a video), but also offers questions after the video, so you can dig in to the material. After that there is a discussion group, in which you can discuss the lecture. It is basically a short lecture (including questions) for everyone to watch. The level of these lectures is mostly pretty easy, but it gives you more information than when you look up a subject on let’s say Wikipedia. It is hard to embed this in a WordPress post, so I will just post a link with an example. Be sure to check one of the lectures out!