I just got back from my favorite week of the year–the annual TED conference held in Long Beach, Calif. TED—short for Technology, Entertainment, Design—is a gathering of movers and shakers dedicated to "ideas worth spreading” such as those above. The conference is educational, inspiring and a ton of fun.
After attending TED for the last nine years, I was struck last week by how much social media and social marketing are changing the way ideas spread. When I first began attending, we were all still marveling at the Internet and what it might do. Last week showed how far and fast we have come–the Internet and social marketing are enabling ideas to spread in ways that we couldn't have imagined 10 years ago. The visions and projects sponsored by the TED foundation are as noble as they’ve ever been, but their ability to drive a community and engage supporters has changed entirely.
As one of the few marketers there, I found myself in amazingly cool conversations with doctors, politicians, educators and scientists as we talked about how even the most basic principles of online marketing could further transform their ability to bring their amazing visions to the world.
Often, when people think of marketing, they immediately (and sadly) think of its lowest forms—unwanted and irrelevant communications about products of questionable value. After my week at TED, I was reminded that marketing is a smart way to tell any story better–even the stories that will change the world.