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).


17 thoughts on “calling my bluff

  1. I’m one of the undesirables they want to keep out.
    Really, I get it. I’m uneducated, work a shitty unrelated to being fabulous job I hate and spend more time reading social media than actually being social media-ly.

    Have fun though! I hope for many posts and tweets about how wrongy-mcwrongerson you are.

  2. A few points:

    1) Honoured to see that so many of my comments have been included in your blog post, I think… ;)

    2) There are a few different places where I’ve seen people call this a social media conference, and I’m not sure where they get that from. I think this event has a much wider catchment than that and isn’t about that crappy politics. I was thrilled to find out that the organizers weren’t part of the “scene” and didn’t make a special effort to accommodate egos last year… Just because they’re using social media to promote it doesn’t make it a social media conference. I look forward to meeting a lot of non-“scene”-ish people there. :)

    3) Kudos for you for filling out the application honestly; I’m sure many of the people complaining about TedxVancouver wanting to keep the “unwashed” out didn’t even try to fill out an application. Their own feeling of inadequacy are what’s getting in their way, not a pretty straight-forward application process.

    4) I think an open application process is infinitely better than a closed invitation-only event. I never getting invited to the closed-invite events, so getting to make the case was appreciated. That has the potential, at least, of allowing them to bring in people outside of their personal experience and circles.

    5) I agree that everyone has something interesting to say and has value, but it’s all context sensitive; we’re not all equal in all contexts–I still don’t think that Sarah Palin or I are qualified to be president of the USA… (I can’t see Russia from my house, though, and I’m not a US Natural-born Citizen)

    Anyway, I need some smuttons to wear at TEDxVancouver… :)


    • Yeah, Renee pointed out to me that it’s not technically a social media thing. I got that impression from the people who were talking about it on Twitter – it’s the usual suspects, which made me think it’s identical to .. oh, every other event held in Vancouver that the same people attend every single time. :)

    • Yeah… It’s true. I just felt sooo inadequate. I mean, I’m secretly a loser but of course I don’t want anybody to know. Also, I’m jealous of the popular kids. And… the boys are only teasing me because they like me. :P Got any others? :)

  3. I am sure you are cackling all the way to this years star wars conference but I wonder if you hear how self righteous you sound?
    “I’m giving YOU the chance to educate me and change my mind

    Who the eff are you? As you stated- someone who sits on their butt and porn and video games.

    I have nothing against porn and video games. But I have everything against your attitude. How can you call the Vancouver social media scene elite and snobbish when you are so blatantly using TED Vancouver as a soapbox for your own personal gain.

    You clearly miss the point of TED. Which for the record is not just “a social media conference”. And as someone who is also attending. I’m disappointed to be in the presence of someone like you.

    Don’t choke on your sour grapes.

    – S

    • I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered someone who so elegantly misses AND proves my point in so few sentences.

      The “personal gain” you accuse me of is education – that’s right, I’m using this conference to better learn what TED is all about. I plan to take this knowledge and go on a wild spending spree at my local Star Wars convention – or, you know – try to share what I’ve learned with others. I honestly don’t know how I live with myself, but here I am.

      It’s already working: I now know that TED is not a Social Media conference; it’s for Technology, Entertainment and Design. See? My evil master plan is underway, and we’re still 8 days away.

      You wonder who the fuck I am – it’s okay, we can swear around here – yet you then say that you are disappointed that “the likes of me” are attending. Why oh why would I EVER think Vancouver’s scene is snobby? People are so welcoming and eager to share! I love your little dig at nerds, and how you clearly took my “video games and porn” to be the sole reason for my existence – tongue, meet cheek – and basically, know nothing about me other than the fact that the likes of ME are going to ruin YOUR conference. If that isn’t real Thought Leadership, I don’t know what it is!

      See you at the event, sweet cheeks. I’ll save you a seat.

      • I’d happily sit next to you. We each get name tags at this event and my name is Sarah Watson. Come find me.

        I’ll take 30 more seconds here to engage your pity party and then you’ll never hear from me again. Try spending half the time you do proving what a scorned outsider you are… and I don’t know ….focused your clever wit and wordsmithing skills on something positive. You’d probably have a less interesting blog. But a much more happier life.

        See you at TED.

        And if it makes you feel better- FUCK. I happen to think “eff” is funnier.

        – S

      • If I had a happier life, I’d have to bottle it – thanks for the concern, but my life is hilarious and there’s a non-stop party going on inside my head. Deadpan doesn’t come across very well in text, but I’m a big fan of sarcasm for effect – do I TRULY believe that people think I smell bad and want to stick me in a corner so I can’t rock the boat? Of course not. It’s exaggeration for the sake of being funny, not a pity party (which I also sometimes have; I’m not a saint – but this isn’t one of them).

        I’m Kimli – look for the boobs and terror (I’m not good in crowds, especially if I feel unwelcome).

  4. So let me get this straight –

    You’re going to a conference that, from your previous comments on the topic, “isn’t the kind of event (you)’d want to attend anyway” and that “sounds boring as hell”.

    You decided you’re not the “right type of person they’re looking for”, but you wouldn’t actually know because instead of filling out the application normally like everyone else who was genuinely interested in attending, you insulted them by calling them “cliquey and snobbish” and “dared them to prove (you) wrong”, giving them “the chance to educate (you) and change (your) mind”.

    Last I checked I do know you – you’re one of my best friends – but I have to agree that you sound like a child.

    • If you read my post, I said I DID fill out the application “normally”. I didn’t quote my application word for word, because I didn’t save it to share with people later. People attacking me on Twitter (and now my own blog) are proving my point nicely – is it honestly such a bad thing that I want to learn what this kind of set up is all about? Would you rather I sit back on my opinion that this method of attendee screening does nothing but bring out the worst in people, or should I try to look at things from the other side? I’m a little disgusted that people – both those who know me and those who don’t – are so quick to condemn me for being honest about this. Maybe it IS better to keep the bitching to Twitter and not actively seek out new knowledge. I seem to be wrong, but I thought that being open to new ideas was kind of what this entire thing was all about.

      Do you all honestly think my application consisted of “I think you suck. Prove me wrong, because you owe me!” ? REALLY?


      • Kimli–

        If you’re referring to my comments, on Twitter, when you say you were “attacked”, I’m sorry… it was not my intention to make you feel that way. I *do* disagree with you and think that some of your criticism of TEDxVancouver has been unfair, but I also respect you and am awfully fond of you, personally.

        …and maybe it’s like pointing out to the amature anarchist that they’re actually firmly part of the establishment, despite their protests. You, Miss Kimli, are a thought-leader (whether you like it or not…) and a thought-provoker and are a great choice to come. :)

  5. wow suckitsarah is clearly not the type you were referring to Kimli! LOL, oh so self important peeps of Vancouver…how about FUCK OFF? i like that one best!

    if any one of the soc med types in Vancouver think they are welcoming…LMAO.
    More like Anti-Social Media. you all just like to gather in your self appointed elitist groups to circle jerk each other off about you IDEAS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!!! throw yourself a party for THINKING!!!! woohooo!

    enjoy Ted…can’t WAIT to read the blog.

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