A community of curious souls : an analysis of commenting behavior on TED talks videos
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofPLoS one ; vol. 9, no. 4.
Publisher(s)Public library of science
The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks website hosts video recordings of various experts, celebrities, academics, and others who discuss their topics of expertise. Funded by advertising and members but provided free online, TED Talks have been viewed over a billion times and are a science communication phenomenon. Although the organization has been derided for its populist slant and emphasis on entertainment value, no previous research has assessed audience reactions in order to determine the degree to which presenter characteristics and platform affect the reception of a video. This article addresses this issue via a content analysis of comments left on both the TED website and the YouTube platform (on which TED Talks videos are also posted). It was found that commenters were more likely to discuss the characteristics of a presenter on YouTube, whereas commenters tended to engage with the talk content on the TED website. In addition, people tended to be more emotional when the speaker was a woman (by leaving comments that were either positive or negative). The results can inform future efforts to popularize science amongst the public, as well as to provide insights for those looking to disseminate information via Internet videos.