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Which TEDxBeaconStreet audience member lived on camel milk for 9 days? Which gets mistaken for the prince of Norway?

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TEDxBeaconStreet brought you today’s talk from Steven Schwaitzberg, “A universal translator for surgeons,” as well as Colin Stoke’s “How movies teach manhood.” But the organizers behind the event know that the speakers on stage only scratch the surface of the stories to tell in the greater Boston area. “We place equal value on our speakers and audience,” explains organizer John Werner. “We look for proactive ways to build community and broaden the TEDx experience beyond the day of the event.”

One example: as people registered for TEDxBeaconStreet 2012, they were asked to tell a fun fact about themselves. Facts for almost all of the 1600 attendees were compiled into a gigantic list—more than 12 pages long—which was emailed out before the event. Below, read a small selection of it. Werner says that audience members loved getting to know each other in this way, and that people reached out to him for an introduction to a person whose fact sparked their interest.


The TEDxBeaconStreet organizers also asked each attendee to choose words from a list that best described themselves. They then created a word cloud showing the most popular answers.


And finally, they asked software engineer Daniel LaLiberte, who currently works at Google on Google Charts, to create a visualization of 400 members of the TEDxBeaconStreet community. Take a closer look at it by clicking through on the image below. Each person at the event is represented by a white circle, and the words they chose to describe themselves are colored circles. Click on a circle to see how that person or word intersects with others in the audience. Take some time to play with this unique tool »