Valuation, Recognition, and Signaling in the Digital Public Sphere: the TED Talk Ranking Ecosystem

In the past few years a new actor, who is playing an increasingly important role in ranking ideas and the scholars who share them, has emerged: the TED organization. While debate has surrounded popular academic research output rankings such as, impact factor, h‐index, Times Higher Education Ranking and Google Scholar, the TED Talk phenomenon does not seem to have garnered the same amount of interest. We argue that TED talks can be seen as a social form of ranking which specifically affects higher education and potentially research and innovation through decisions on what to invest in next. The TED organization then becomes a gatekeeper in the production and the cultural valuation of symbolic goods and social practices, especially with regard to research and innovation worth spreading. In this chapter we attempt to demonstrate how the TED ecosystem is a marketplace for ideas. By applying the concepts of recognition, valuation and signaling, we show how the TED ecosystem functions as both a means of gaining recognition for speakers and their ideas, but also provides a means of ranking those ideas and projects by signaling their importance by inclusion in the curated collection of talks accessible on the TED website.

Linnhoff-Popien, Claudia
Schneider, Ralf
Zaddach, Michael
Published in:
Digital Marketplaces Unleashed, 33-43
Berlin Heidelberg, Springer

 Record created 2017-09-18, last modified 2019-12-05

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