Digital Activism, Social Impacts and Other Reflections from TedXMidwest

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Digital Activism, Social Impacts and Other Reflections from TedXMidwest


Posted by Sara Burton, Account Director Recently I had the privilege of attending TedXMidwest in downtown Chicago. For those unfamiliar with Ted, it is a series of presentations that inspire “Ideas Worth Spreading.”  The event was 2 days long consisting of 17 minute speeches from professors, writers, Pulitzer Prize winners, National Geographic photographers, researchers and some of the top minds in a variety of fields. In addition to the speeches, hour long breaks where given to foster continued conversation between participants on why they were inspired. Some of the things that I left inspired to do were to think of ways to give under privileged areas other outlets and opportunities. Some examples from some of the speakers were creating makers labs where citizens could learn soldering, computer programming and job skills. Or a man in South Los Angeles who plants community gardens so the people can have fresh vegetables when grocery stores are not around. One point that touched my heart, was the value of mentoring. One positive mentor can change the life of someone with great potential but limited opportunities. Sara Burton Tedx I also walked away inspired to dig into the challenges and opportunities the new digital world faces. A simple, but growing issue of password security – look how much easier it is to hack into personal and company computer systems.  A great digital example of social activism came from the group “Anonymous,” a group of hackers and people connecting online in Egypt and the Middle East. An opportunity that would be helpful in our line is work is the amount of data that people create in their day to day lives such as driving habits, credit card statements, calorie counters, smart houses, etc. If this data could be harnessed, it could spur huge opportunity for health care and social understanding. I also felt inspired to take care of our environment and find ways to live in cities that doesn’t destroy our world. The architect of the aqua and the Lincoln Park Zoo walkways believed that people and nature can live together as she provided homes for wolves and animals in her designs. A national geographic photographer brought to life places of the world that impacted by abuse of the planet and how we could be more conscious of our impact as a species. The entire experience made me think about the surrounding world and how we can make it better, this even includes the work we do for our clients every day. As we are on the cusp of the new way of doing business, it is exciting to know we are the people that will create the new pathways of the digital world. Past TedxMidwest speeches can be found here


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