Screen shot of a TED Talk by Michael Botticelli.

Confessions of a TED Talk-aholic

by Martha Madigan

Hello. My name is Martha, and I am a TED Talk-aholic. It started innocently enough, researching new ideas and looking for relevant videos to show in my classes and share with colleagues.

Screen shot of "15 Inspirational TED Talks for Freshman Year"

Then I began sneaking TED Talk searches during meetings or between classes and watching while eating lunch. I would joke with my students about videos that were not TED Talks, while secretly wishing they all were. My addiction got real for me when I signed up for email notifications. Suddenly TED Talks were coming to ME and I liked it. I wanted more. I started looking for excuses to show them in class, but realized to my horror that some of my students became addicted too. I knew it was my fault but I couldn’t stop myself.



I knew I had a problem when I started waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning under the guise of concern about the day’s class activities, but really I needed a fix. I would watch TED Talks in the wee small hours when no one was watching. It was my shame. My cross to bear. Alone and edgy, nervous that I would be found out.

It’s too late for me now. I can see my future, holed up in libraries and Starbucks, watching TED Talks on my phone, begging for faster internet access. All I can do now is warn others. So please, don’t let the draw of TED Talks pull you in and take over your lives like it has me. For your own sake, for your students and for those you love, save yourselves while there is still hope.

If you have suggestions for blog posts or if you would like to share your favorite TED Talk, email Martha Madigan (, or stop by the Center for Teaching Excellence, TLC 324.

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