Category Archives: TED Talks

TEDx Fort Wayne Initiates Student Speech Contest

by My Web Writers

Ever have a great idea and want to share it with the world? Or maybe you want to hear about other people’s ideas in technology, entertainment and design? Those three subjects are the ideas behind TED– a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Sharing.”

While TED is an international program, it also gives smaller communities the chance to share their own ideas with each other via the program “TEDx.” TEDx gives people the opportunity to share on the local level.  In Fort Wayne, Indiana, TEDx Fort Wayne invited the area’s youth to share their ideas for change via a student speech contest.

“It’s a reminder that great ideas come from everywhere,” said Craig Crook, TEDx Fort Wayne Coordinator. “I hope the student speech contest captures the attention of the folks back at TED, as engaging our youth should be incorporated at all TEDx events.”

Over 30 students submitted their entries to the speech contest via YouTube and flash drive.  The entries included a wide range of topics and ideas.  Jean Bansemer, a TEDx Fort Wayne volunteer who initiated the speech contest, said, “It’s inspiring to watch our youth speak from the heart and to articulate their ideas. A contest like this supports the schools’ and parents’ academic efforts while providing insight into what the next generation is thinking.”

TEDxFortWayne coordinators visited local schools, called and emailed local administrators and teachers, reached out to the area’s libraries, and engaged community members socially via Twitter and Facebook to get students involved. The speech requirements were for area youth to “dream big” and to explain how they want to make a difference in the community. While some entries will be included in a video presentation at TEDxFortWayne in May, other students will present their speeches in person.

High school students were encouraged to enter by submitting a three-minute video of their speech.  Elementary and middle school students submitted short essays.  Students chose from four topics: 1. Share your vision for our community, 2. Explain what you’re doing to improve our culture, 3. Tell us about your ideas for change, or 4. Show us what power really means.

Other TEDx events are held all over the globe, from Brazil, to Egypt, to China and Saudi Arabia, with each community sharing its own ideas in different ways.

Crook has enjoyed seeing what Fort Wayne students have come up with, and hopes the speech contest will catch on in other communities.  He believes there are many reasons students should participate in such a contest.

“Having a chance to actively participate in the future, letting your voice be heard, realizing that you are never too young to create and engage with things that matter,” Crook said, “those are all good reasons to enter.”  Winners of the 2012 student speech contest will be announced within the next week.

Update- 4/16/2012:

A panel of TEDx Fort Wayne judges, who reviewed over 30 YouTube and essay entries, recently selected winners and honorable mentions for this year’s “Re-Think Fort Wayne” contest.  Students were asked to voice their ideas, dreams, and vision for their communities, country, and world via a writing and speech contest.

High school speech winners include: Neisha Freshly, with “Teenage Power”; Erin Purcell, “Equine Assisted Therapy”; and Rachel Shie, “Teenage Depression.”  All three students attend New Tech Academy in Fort Wayne.  Eighth grader, Natalie Brown, from Carroll Middle School, wrote the winning middle school essay- “Fort Wayne: Fulfilling One Dream at a Time.”

Mitch Bleich, Derek Dalman, Hannah Dorian, Breon Johnson, David Lehman, Quinasha McCall, Benjamin Perose, Yamin Thu each receive honorable mentions as speech contest runners-up.  All of these students will be featured in a video montage, during the May 19, 2012 TEDx Fort Wayne event.  Attendees will have opportunities to visit student tables to discuss the students’ areas of interest in between sessions.

TEDxFortWayne organizer Craig D. Crook said, “The theme for TEDxFortWayne 2012 is Re-Think Fort Wayne.  We invited area youth to dream BIG and they did!”

Contest coordinator, Jean Bansemer, added, “It was difficult for judges to narrow down entries to winners and honorable mentions.  The dreams and hopes of all the students really impressed the judges.  Come to the event and listen to what these young people have to say about rethinking Fort Wayne and the future.”

TEDx Fort Wayne will be held on May 19, 2012 from 9am- 5pm at the Cinema Center (437 Berry Street).  Tickets for this non-for-profit event can be purchased at


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Filed under Education Strategy, TED Talks

My Web Writers’ Most Popular 2011 Content Topics and Articles

by My Web Writers

When we, at My Web Writers, hunch over our keyboards smithing words – wistfully pausing now and then to glance out windows, we’re envisioning you. We imagine that you’re very dapper, intelligent, and curious.  You’re on the prowl to learn more about the world of content, SEO, social media, and marketing.  We’re on target, aren’t we?  (Ah, a sucker for compliments, too!)

But, which of our articles did analytics say you were most attracted to in 2011?  Which pieces are most useful?  Read on to uncover our most popular 2011 articles and topics from My Web Writers’ blog.

Content with the Most Views and/ or Shares:

1.  Brief Conclusions from the 2011 Google Quality Raters Handbook

Everyone wants the inside track on the Big G!  Pot Pie Girl originally broke this story about an accidental link that appeared on Google’s website.  This link led to a PDF of a training manual for Google rankers with insights into the world of ranking review.  Try not to panic if you missed it.  The manual reinforces white hat, SEO practices and compelling, useful content.

2.  How to Handle Negative Facebook Posts On Your Company’s Facebook Page

In the center of the universal heart is a soft spot.  What do you do when the unkind want to air their complaints publicly?  Inspired by a talk given by Anthony Juliano, from Asher Agency, Pam suggests an overall customer service approach that’s positive and effective when handling negativity.

3.   Create a Table of Contents

Perfectionists tasked with writing manuals found this post helpful. This popular topic navigates Word 2007 and various options for creating tables of contents.

5.  Ten Content Tips for ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) Experts

Google’s Jim Lecinski created a fantastic marketing model that identifies current shopping trends.  Content writers and marketers aware of ZMOT found our writing tips helpful for increasing revenue opportunities at the Zero Moment of Truth.

6.  Social Media Brings Others Together

Lauren attended a local TEDx event and wrote about how social media played a part in the event.  This popular article was widely shared and we’d venture to guess by other attendees or TEDx fans.  Google knows the value of your local community.  Consider your own local, story topics in 2012.

7.  Time Wasting Technology- Streamline 2012

For as much as we love technology, it can stifle us.  This topic hit a nerve with many of you.  “What is really important in life?”

8.  Use Your Writing Gifts to Better the World

We love the altruistic.  You shared this article about a missions trip to Nicaragua and then you considered writing for a higher purpose.  Some experiences go beyond words, so I’m delighted we have pictures to share with the article.

9.  Literacy and Your Content Marketing Campaign

Keep it simple.  Search engines want you to consider the general audience when it comes to website content readability now and in 2012.

10.  Google’s Panda 2.5 Update; Deliver the Content Promised in the Meta

This analysis of the Panda 2.5 update suggested that three losing websites had a uniting theme- they under-delivered in the content what they promised to deliver in their meta titles.  Since the posting of this article, Google made additional Panda adjustments.

Thanks for Reading My Web Writers’ 2011 Most Popular Articles!

Your content providers at My Web Writers wish you a very happy holiday season.  What were some of your favorite topics and articles this year?  What did your readers enjoy on your blog or website? Drop a note to us with a link to your post!


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Filed under Content, Favorite Websites, Holiday Blog, Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, TED Talks, Web Writers, ZMOT

Use Your Writing Gifts to Better the World

by My Web Writers

Beautiful Flowers Outside a Home in Nicaragua

Last month, I traveled to Nicaragua.  What I saw left me in a quandary.

What can writers do to better the world?

My destination was Ameya- a little village lined with shacks along a dirt road near the Western coastal region of Nicaragua.  My church partnered with Food for the Hungry and sent a team of us to lay a foundation for a classroom and to present a VBS for children.

Write About Organizations Like Food for the Hungry

Food for the Hungry believes that the way to empower the poor is NOT to create dependency.  Community members participate in and take ownership of projects.  So, while our church team was sweating, the community was sweating with us.

Write About Inspiring Youth

Washing at the School’s Well

On the first work day, a fourteen-year-old named Jose watched us dig and smooth out dirt from a ditch.  A brimmed hat shaded my face from the equator sun, but sweat still soaked my shirt.

Jose left his buddies to join me and take my shovel.  By the next day, he recruited fellow teenager, Marco, the good-hearted, to join us.  In broken Spanish, I affirmed, “Jose, you’re a leader.”

Jose’s parents abandoned him four years ago and left him with a family friend.  He struggles with a learning disability and, like many diamonds in the rough, a strong will.  During the week, the family friend vented to one of our team members, while Jose listened.  Pointing at the teen, she scowled, “If you want him, you can take him.”  Jose left the room.  His path is not an easy one.  What will be his future?

Write About Global Friendship

Elieser is Jose’s friend.  Hooked to his Ipod, Elieser didn’t understand what his favorite American musician was saying, so he asked me to explain.  Poor kid.

Interpreting was a stretch.  I didn’t understand what the rapper was saying in English, nor could I understand Elieser’s interpretation of the rap dude.  Finally, I was able to come up with a slangy- “How-Yo-doing?” as the English version and “Como estas?” as the simple, Spanish translation.

Elieser’s face fell and I could see him thinking, “how lame.”

Jose laughed and put his arm around Elieser.  He then asked me to take a picture of the two of them.  Taking “fotos” and videos is a big dealie deal.  Villagers didn’t appear to own cameras.  I was smiling as they smiled at me.  Click.

Write About Girl Power

I noticed thirteen-year-old Heydi in the afternoon on the first day of vacation Bible school.  A cell phone was hanging out of the front of her shirt.  How do kids that don’t have running water in their homes gain access to IPods and cell phones?

Heydi befriended me on day two. When I attempted a conversation in Spanish, she was graciously attentive.  I learned that while she’s thirteen or maybe even fourteen (many children don’t have birth certificates), she’s a fifth grader.  Being a year or more behind in school is quite common.

Any child older than age thirteen is not eligible for sponsorship through Food for the Hungry’s child sponsorship program.  We saw many late teen and early twenty-something mothers.  What will become of them?  Most don’t have an education beyond grade school.

I pulled a children’s book, written in both English and Spanish, from my backpack. Heydi and I sat in a pile of construction gravel, while I read to her.  She asked thoughtful questions and we discussed the meanings of various words.  We talked about the importance of pursuing an education and staying away from boys- at least for awhile.

Write About Education

On our last day, the teens were milling around their school.  I asked, “Porque- why?”

Teaching English in the School Courtyard

“The teacher didn’t show up,” was the nonchalant answer, given as though ho-hum- that’s just the way it is.  My friend, Julie, and I offered to teach.  The unanimous response was, “Sure.”  The young teens carried desks to the dirt courtyard and hung a white board from two nails on the tree.  The outdoors is their current center for learning until a classroom is built for this age group.   Fortunately, we had nice weather all week.  When it rains, school is cancelled for older kids.

I used to teach high school and college English in America.  I will never forget this group from Nicaragua.

With no books and spontaneous teachers, they took notes like the world depended on that lesson.  Everything we wrote down they quickly copied to their papers.

Those kids walked a mile along their community’s dirt road to get to school.  They did not begin the day with warm showers.  There were no teachers, administrators, or front office staff taking attendance and following-up with calls to the parents that morning.  Truancy officers weren’t locating those who skipped school.  The special education teacher didn’t work individually with the child on the IEP. What special education teacher?  An I-E- what?

Many teens, like Heydi, are in charge of younger siblings or cousins, while parents work in fields.  Did the children even eat breakfast that morning?

Write About World Truth

Women Cooking in Nicaragua

They battle such deficiencies, but overcome so much with earnestness.  Inspiring!  We have no excuses in developed countries.  Really, we don’t.  Our pioneer past could be compared to the current reality in Nicaragua.

They withstand the elements, but come to life with appreciation.  Their stick, tin, and tarp homes are decorated with colorful flowers hanging from make-shift pots.  Cooking takes place over wood fires in stone stoves, but the meals are hearty.  The lack of stuff- the lack of choice- the lack of pampering seems to have bolstered their desire to learn and to improve their community’s condition.

Write to Inspire a Better World

Upon our team’s return, I was encouraged to hear news from Food for the Hungry that Ameya’s teenagers united on a project.  They approached the land owner’s foreman, who agreed to donate the edge of a field for soccer.  The teenagers gathered to build goal posts and to form a team.  They’re considering playing other communities on the weekends at their new soccer field.  I’m smiling!

Write to Better the World

Flower Pots Decorate a Home in Nicaragua

What can I do?  What can you do?

  • Participate in a missions trip.
  • Unite with other organizations in the communities you target.  (I found an organization in Ameya- Biblioteca Esperanza y Gracia that is raising funds for mobile libraries.)
  • Blog or tweet about opportunities to help widows and orphans.

    Sharing a Laugh in Nicaragua

  • Partner with organizations to bring electricity and Internet connections to remote communities.  Internet access can stimulate economies.

So, do share.  How are you using your gifts to better our world?



Filed under Descriptive Writing, Education Strategy, Pictures, TED Talks, Women Writers, Writing Careers

Social Media Brings Others Together

by My Web Writers

I recently attended the TEDx Fort Wayne event and was inspired by the amount of enthusiasm, inspiration, and togetherness shown by entrepreneurs, businessmen (and women), and others in attendance. The opportunity to attend was presented to me by my boss, but I was curious as to how others became involved in the event. I was astounded by the prominence of social media in the answers that I found.

Will Upchurch, public speaking professor at IPFW, was gracious enough to speak with me for a few moments about how his involvement in the conference came to be. He stated that a colleague of his had liked the event on Facebook which was then pushed or shown on his wall. One simple click of a button prompted further conversation about the TEDx Fort Wayne event and led to Will submitting a “talk” which was then accepted.

I spoke with several others during “intermissions” in the event where mingling and exchanging of information and stories took place. Some of these business people indicated that they had heard about the event through Tweets as they were following other businesses on Twitter that had become involved in TEDx Fort Wayne.

Curator of TEDx Fort Wayne, Craig Crook, was the upbeat commander-in-chief who was inspired by his love of action and “doers” in the community. His mission was to bring community members together to exchange ideas, start conversations, and get the “right idea to the right person who will do something with it.” Craig addressed the audience several times throughout the event and once stated that “social media was a necessary medium to get the message out due to a small budget.” (TED events are purely non-profit events and rely solely on donations.)

This concept of marketing brought me back to my web writing career as I often work with the social media aspect of SEO at My Web Writers. Each professional writer is frequently reminded of the importance of relevant copy so that buyers, readers, and searchers find what they are looking for quickly. I came to realize (as I had not thought of it before) that the same is true even when people are using social media for entertainment or support.

Clay Shirky spoke about the use of social media to form support groups and how young stay-at-home mothers are the leaders in the social media drive. The need for relevance in the search for their needs is extremely important as they don’t have much time on their hands to find each other and connect with other adults that have similar needs, wants, and desires. “Be careful of people’s attention spans,” stated Will Upchurch during his “talk”. People are busy in their everyday lives and can’t spend tons of time searching for something or someone because of irrelevant information. Sales and group participants will be lost if it requires too much effort and time to find.

TEDx Fort Wayne provided networking through social networking and support for doers in the Fort Wayne community by others with similar goals and passions. Brief social media connections led to an entire day’s worth of face-to-face interactions that will undoubtedly help change Fort Wayne’s community and businesses.



Filed under SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, TED Talks