How TED (Really) Works

How one hairdresser behind the scenes, and Émile Durkheim, says more about TED than all the viral videos

Zeynep Tufekci
Dec 1, 2014 · 12 min read

We are less and less anonymous, more and more surveilled, and more and more connected.

Hair on fire

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TED’s auditorium theater, set up at the beach.

“Great,” I thought. “I’m going to make my viral TED debut as a detached head bobbing about with wet hair and a green face. Why not?”

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The trailers behind the TED theater I was “ushered to” that I later went back to find

I had talked about social movements and technology, and had started my talk with a sordid tale of 34 Kurdish smugglers bombed and killed at the border, so “silky” would not have been the first adjective that would come to my mind.

Unsung heroes

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What most people think makes TED run
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What actually makes TED run—a whole crew.

I nearly fell off my chair, in awe, when I realized that in the United States, the post office worked almost all the time.

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The Message

A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection.

Thanks to Paul Ford, Rex Sorgatz, and Virginia Heffernan

Zeynep Tufekci

Written by

Thinking about our tools, ourselves. Assistant prof at UNC iSchool. Princeton CITP fellow, Harvard Berkman faculty associate, Sociology.

The Message

A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection. Season 2 stars @anildash @alanalevinson @ftrain @hipstercrite @itsthebrandi @jamielaurenkeiles @vijithassar @yungrama @zeynep. Season 1 available on DVD shortly.

Zeynep Tufekci

Written by

Thinking about our tools, ourselves. Assistant prof at UNC iSchool. Princeton CITP fellow, Harvard Berkman faculty associate, Sociology.

The Message

A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection. Season 2 stars @anildash @alanalevinson @ftrain @hipstercrite @itsthebrandi @jamielaurenkeiles @vijithassar @yungrama @zeynep. Season 1 available on DVD shortly.

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