calling my bluff

There’s been controversy on the Twitters lately about the TEDxVancouver conference coming up on the 27th of November. The majority of the hullabaloo comes from the registration process – access to the TEDxVancouver event is by invitation only; only the best and brightest and most interesting will be allowed to pay the $40 attendance fee to get into this one-day workshop. They’re looking for “thought leaders“; people who .. um .. lead thoughts, and stuff. I am uncomfortable with this, so I piped up in my usual way to bring life to my malcontent.

Every other social media conference is first-come-first-serve – if you want to attend, you fill out the form and pay the admission fee and off you go. This conference is, for lack of a better term, screening the people who want to attend: are you a thought leader? If not, then you aren’t welcome here. And I think that really sucks – what happened to the “social” part of social media? Remember that whole presentation I gave on people being no better than anyone else; that we’re all valid, interesting people with something to say?  How can this screening process between the can-do chickadees and the can’t crows lead to anything other than trouble between the “valued; has something to say” and the “omg Becky, look at her butt”?

This makes me an asshole, or something.

I was accused of being a destructive force; someone who actively wants to “tear down” [ideas] instead of building them up. I’m full of “haterade”, and complain about every event I’m not personally invited to. It’s so easy for me to moan and bitch; if only I’d use that energy for social media GOOD. My criticism of TedXVancouver has no value because I’m not actively trying to find a solution to the injustice. I’m a butt-sitter; one who sits on her butt instead of going out and DOING attending conferences. I’m just plain wrong, have no interest in learning, likely smell bad and should probably go kill myself. How dare you use words like “elitism” and “keeping out undesirables” when you clearly have no idea and are stupid. I’m not the target audience anyway, we only want people who can report back to a WIDE audience, so nyah nyah nyah – we want real thought leaders who are exciting and full of piss and vinegar about social media, not .. whatever you are. Go away!

Well then.

Maybe I AM wrong. Maybe my views – as obviously invalid and stupid as they are because they’re not what everyone else thinks – are way off base. Maybe I AM being too negative, and I just can’t see the beauty in a world full of thought leaders because I’m too mired in my boat-rocking, nay-saying ways. Marching to the beat of my own drum – when that drum is not the same drum that the OTHER people are using – clearly makes me a thought FOLLOWER, not a thought LEADER.

So, teach me.

After that conversation, I applied to attend TEDxVancouver. You’re asked a series of questions to prove your worthiness judge your usefulness cull the herd demonstrate your interest in the TED series:

  • If a friend were to describe your accomplishments in three sentences or less, what would they say?
  • What are you passionate about? (work, creative output, issues, communities, etc.)
  • List at least one website that will help us understand you better. (This can include personal blogs, photos or sites you just generally love to check out).
  • What do you hope to get out of this TEDx event?

I filled out the application honestly, saying that I had issues with the way the ideas were being presented as Vancouver’s Social Media scene is notoriously cliquey and snobbish. I gave my own website as a reference, listed my passions for video games and porn, and quite literally dared them to prove me wrong: allow me to attend the event to learn if this is a viable way to get the cream of the crop in to share ideas. Being accused of being closed minded really irritated the piss out of me, because I’m not – I think information should be shared openly, to all who seek it and NOT just the elite few deemed worthy enough to partake. Am I wrong? I might be. By giving me the chance to attend this event, I’m giving YOU the chance to educate me and change my mind. Will you take me up on it?

They did – I’m in. I’ve purchased my TEDxVancouver ticket, and while I may not be a “thought leader” or the right type of person they’re looking for – no one wants to hear what I have to say because I’m a shit-disturbing wrongie wrongerson with no good ideas – well, this might sort me out, or something.

People say it’s “so easy” for me to be critical and disruptive, but I disagree (obviously, lols): it’s very easy to be smug and superior when you’re on the inside, drinking the Kool-Aid; it’s actually quite difficult to have a valid dissenting view based on an informed opinion (and not just sour grapes).

I’m looking forward to this event, actually. Show me what you’re all about, Ted. Maybe we can learn something from each other (assuming I’m not shunned and made to sit in a corner).



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