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15 Terrific TED Talks for New Media Students

By Nadia Jones

Whether you're fascinated by the possibilities of the internet or have a passion for the democratization of information, ideas and content, you probably can't get enough about new media. Luckily, you're not alone. Researchers, new media students and technology scholars are using the web to communicate great new ideas about new media. One of the best places to find lectures on the topic is the TED website. Here are some great talks that will help you learn more about new ways to use traditional media and innovative ways to bring more to the digital sphere– and everything else in between.

  1. Peter Hirshberg on TV and the web: Take a look back at media and technology history with this talk. You'll get a chance to see why watching TV on the web can be so much more engaging.
  2. James Surowiecki: When social media became news: Most of us spend a pretty good part of the day using social media, whether it's reading blogs or using social networking sites. Here you can learn a bit more about the role social media is starting to play in reporting the news and what it means for more traditional media.
  3. Alisa Miller shares the news about the news: The web has provided a way for news to travel faster and has made it much harder to censor the kind of information that gets out there. That may be a good thing, as Alisa Miller here talks about how traditional media is reporting on less and less.
  4. Seth Godin on the tribes we lead: When you hear the word "tribe," you probably think of it in the more traditional sense. But in this talk from marketing guru Seth Godin, you'll learn about how it can be applied to how we use the web– with powerful results.
  5. Christopher "moot" Poole: The case for anonymity online: Founder of the controversial site 4chan, Christopher Poole, discusses some of the issues that come along with spreading information over the web– namely the pros and cons of allowing anonymity.
  6. Jacek Utko designs to save newspapers: Traditional print media outlets are struggling to stay afloat these days, unable to compete with newer, more interactive online versions. Utko shows here that it might not so much be a matter of content and usability as it is design.
  7. Jimmy Wales on the birth of Wikipedia: It's hard to remember a world without Wikipedia, but a decade ago the site was just getting its start. Learn how founder Jimmy Wales helped to create the amazing new media giant from this talk.
  8. Tod Machover and Dan Ellsey play new music: computer programs can let you work collaboratively on just about anything, including music. Here you'll get a chance to see how the technology is being used at MIT to bring tools for musical expression to everyone, allowing education and collaboration.
  9. Jamie Heywood: The big idea my brother inspired: Social networking has a whole host of trivial uses, but as you'll learn in this talk, it can be used to power some pretty useful things as well. Inspired by his brother's illness, Jamie Heywood built a site that allows users to track their illnesses and connect with others.
  10. Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media: Memes may have existed before the internet, but over the past decade they've exploded into our popular consciousness. Here, you'll learn how they start and spread.
  11. Brewster Kahle builds a free digital library: One of the amazing advantages of new media is the ability to share information with people anywhere– often collaboratively. In this talk, you'll see how the power of the digital world is being put to use to build an awe-inspiring digital library of information.
  12. Howard Rheingold on collaboration: Take a listen to this lecture to see how the internet fosters our innate desire to work together to get things done.
  13. Natasha Tsakos' multimedia theatrical adventure: See how art and new media can be blended in this one-woman 3D show, built around a virtual world and an imaginary avatar.
  14. Evan Williams on listening to Twitter users: You can't do much on the web, or off of it for that matter, without hearing about Twitter these days. Check out this talk to gain a better understanding of how the site came to be what it is today.
  15. Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet enables intimacy: The internet is generally deemed a tool that makes humans more distant from one another, engaging in less real-time interaction. Broadbent argues against that here, claiming that this powerful new media tool actually lets us get closer together.