QUIZ: TED talk or congressional hearing?

August 21, 2014

Congressional hearing titles usually do a good job of conveying how long and boring they will be. Like, "The State of Small Business Lending: Identifying Obstacles and Exploring Solutions." Or, "Hearing to Examine the Issue of Feed Availability and its Effect on the Livestock and Poultry Industries."

But sometimes -- sometimes -- they begin or end in a question that is designed to pique interest, if only slightly. Like, "Have We Found Other Earths?" Or, "Secret Agent Man?," and  "Who's in Your Wallet?"

After scanning them for awhile, they start to look familiar. Congressional hearings were using the same annoying headlines that TED talks and Internet news sites have been using forever, and no one has thought to yell at them about it. But maybe we shouldn't -- given the fact that none of these hearings received much traffic, it's clear they have a way to go in mastering congressional click bait.

Although TED talks -- the bite-sized lectures worshiped by many and offered at Technology, Entertainment and Design conferences (the non-profit says it is "devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading") -- are designed to distill topics to provide answers, and congressional hearings are designed to poke matters for hour on end, they both resort to the same signposting. They also have faced the same monumental amounts of backlash.

That's basically where the similarities end, but we challenge you to differentiate between TED talks and congressional hearings by their titles alone. Extra points to those who decided to turn the congressional hearings into TED talks. No points for those who rewrite the congressional hearings titles into Upworthy headlines.

Take the quiz here.

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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Aaron Blake · August 21, 2014