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In The “Thank You For Coming To My TED Talk” TikTok Trend, Creators Are Dropping The Mic

Have you ever made a statement so simple, yet so profound that it deserved its own TED Talk? For example, the 9-5 workday is dead. Olivia Rodrigo should sweep the Grammys. Leggings are, indeed, pants. (You get the point.) In the “Thank You For Coming To My TED Talk” TikTok Trend, creators are sharing their favorite hot takes, life lessons, and bold statements that are worthy of a mic drop. The emerging trend is perfect for the moments when you just need to get something important off your chest — and chances are, your thesis statement requires no further explanation.

If you weren’t inundated with TEDx videos from professors in college or you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, who is Ted and what is he talking about?” meet the TED Talk, an event during which a speaker presents “a great idea” in 18 minutes or less. TED Talks cover topics from science to pop culture and beyond, and I firmly believe they got me through college. While TED Talk videos certainly run the gamut in terms of substance and quality, typically, a good talk includes profound ideas, a few stats, and memorable delivery from a speaker or expert in their field.

Over the years, the phrase “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk” has come to colloquially mean, “Thank you for listening to this genius point I just made.” Rumor has it that the quote first became popular on Tumblr — the birthplace of many iconic memes — around 2015. Now, the phrase has earned a spot in our vernacular as a quippy, sarcastic follow-up for moments when you just dropped some fire knowledge, and you know it. 

The meme is so ingrained in our culture that in 2020, musician Sad Summer released a song called TED Talk featuring the lyrics “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk” at the beginning of the track. Earlier this fall, @erica.stubblefield9 posted a video with the Sad Summer lyrics in the background, with text overlay that said: “Stay-at-home moms provide just as much to a household as a husband does with an income.” The punchline? Thank you for coming to her TED Talk. Immediately, a viral TikTok trend was born, and creators all over the app began creating their own versions of TED Talk-like declarations.

The goal of the TikTok trend is to share an opinion, rant, joke, piece of advice, or something crucial you need the world to know. For example, @thewalters2wins reminds the world that identical twins are two different people and they don’t need to dress the same. Creator @xoxo.allison claims that people who are outgoing on social media can be shy IRL, and @erin.killeen says you shouldn’t feel pressured to spend the holidays with family if they’re toxic or bad for your mental health. I especially love this one from Dylynne Renee, whose version says: “You can’t shame a woman’s body when you came from one.” Now that’s a TED Talk I’m down to attend.

Many TikTokers start their videos with something like, “I’m about to ruffle some feathers” before revealing their groundbreaking thought, and the results range from serious to straight-up entertaining. TikTok witch @ethereallywicked says that you deserve to be a witch if you want to be. Creator @cacta_kate calls out celebrities who don’t wear masks, and @penelopesm0m is over being told that she can’t wear leggings to school. As a dog lover, I’m all for a pet-inspired version like this one from @twodachshundkings, which says: “Friendly reminder that if dinner is at 6 pm and you cry by your dish at 5:50 and again at 6:10, you can trick your mom and dad into accidentally feeding you twice.” Points were made.

To try the “TED Talk” TikTok trend at home, simply save the trending soundbite here and draft your text overlay and a caption expressing your TED-worthy message. Set your camera on selfie mode and record yourself reflecting on your groundbreaking thought; then, finish the video by lip-syncing “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk” in time with the Sad Summer lyrics. Voila! A simple, straightforward TikTok trend that nearly everyone on your For You Page can relate to. 

If you have something to say to the world, now’s your chance. Give this new TikTok trend a try, and remember — it’s less about being serious or too literal, and more about being witty and having fun. Who needs 18 minutes on a stage, anyway?

Tianna is an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.
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