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Communications and Public Affairs

  • TEDxUofSC letters on the Horseshoe

Event Spotlight: TEDxUofSC 2020

TEDxUofSC went virtual in 2020! As the pandemic affected nearly every aspect of life, our office embraced the challenge of producing a virtual version of TEDxUofSC, which is, in any other year, a lively, in-person event. TEDx is a global program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to hear short, powerful talks about innovative ideas. The program is guided by the TED organization, the nonprofit known for its TED Conference and devotion to “ideas worth spreading.”

The Deliverables

  • TEDxUofSC logo

    TEDxUofSC 2020 Promotion

    Leading up to the event, our team promoted the event via social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) through our social media channels and one promoted post, via press releases, in correspondence with interested parties and the university community, and with a story in the Voices section of COLAToday’s website.

  • Ronda Hughes

    The Live Broadcast

    The university’s second TEDx event — and first virtual one — was broadcast via Facebook Live from the Columbia campus on Oct. 21, 2020. Free and open to anyone in the world, more than 600 people registered for the online event. While on the university’s Facebook page for a very short time, the broadcast reached almost 25,000 people.

  • Kailey Mattison

    Speakers and Host

    TEDxUofSC 2020 featured five speakers and one live host. Due to precautions about gatherings as a result of the pandemic, the five talks were prerecorded on campus in the Kennedy Greenhouse Studio, where the live host segments were broadcast from as well. They are now available online via sc.edu/tedxuofsc.

 

The Results

  • More than 600 people registered for the online event.
  • The live broadcast reached 24,582 people via Facebook.
  • The live broadcast also sparked 3,980 social media engagements.
  • One minimally promoted Facebook post reached 17,298 people and received 1,040 post clicks to learn more.
  • The videos available on the UofSC Youtube page have received more than 2,200 views.
  • Two graduate students spoke from the TEDxUofSC stage.
  • Archie Crowley’s talk was chosen as a featured talk by TED.com. In just two days since being featured on March 31, 2021, that video had already received 444,334 views worldwide. By June 2021, it had surpassed 1 million views — and counting!

 

The Approach

The second-ever TEDxUofSC — following the highly successful 2018 premiere event, which saw its 500-capacity ticket limit reached in just five hours — was originally conceived as a live, in-person event. In fact, it wasn’t just conceived as such: plans were well underway. The venue had already been reserved, promotion plans were begun, materials were being designed ... but 2020 had other plans for us.

In the midst of a pandemic, producing a virtual event was our only option. But while that might’ve been a limiting factor in some ways, it also gave us other, new opportunities. We’d still feature talks and have a host, but now we could reach anyone in the world, anywhere in the world, with a live broadcast. It also gave us the opportunity to focus on getting quality recordings of the live talks. The event, which featured segments with dynamic live host and alumnus Rania Jamison mixed in with the prerecorded talks, received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

That focus on the presentation of the talks paid off in a big way in early 2021. Archie Crowley’s talk, about common beliefs about language and how language concerning gender and identity is an important, evolving topic, was chosen as a featured talk by TED.com. Crowley’s video was first featured on March 31, and by June 2021 it had received more than 1 million views.


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