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When 15 speakers take the stage for Ignite Raleigh 4 on Wednesday, they will have just five minutes each to explain how they think mobile technology and the Internet are changing the way people live.
There’s no right answer, and the speakers can take their talks in any direction they like, but the rules of the presentation are firm: five minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide. It’s a format known as an ignite speech, and in cities around the world, people are gathering to share their speeches with audiences interested in learning about new ideas in a fast, fun way. The motto: “enlighten us but make it quick.”
Boyles, a co-founder of the Ignite Raleigh group, said the events, which got their start in Seattle in 2006, are sometimes called “a variety roadshow for geeks.” People share ideas they are passionate about with the ultimate goal of inspiring their audience to take an interest or take action. In Raleigh, the topics have ranged from a day in the life of a meteorologist to local beers to the concept of infinity.
“There’s always a lot of fun and humor,” Boyles said. “It’s really kind of a crash course in how to give a speech.”
This is the fourth show for Ignite Raleigh, which started in 2009. Boyles, who lives in Wake Forest and works as a social media strategist for IBM, said 600 people typically register to attend the Raleigh shows.
Not all Ignite shows have a theme, but this year Ignite Raleigh asked speakers to address the question: “How is social changing _______?” The speakers fill in the blank, but they all will ponder the question of how life and culture are changing because of the way people use the Internet to connect with one another, including when they’re on the go. Organizers chose the speakers from an open call for potential topics.
Ignite Raleigh is put on by a team of volunteers with local sponsors including the Lincoln Theatre, NBC-17, Capstrat and TIMA.
Ignite also partners with a charity each year. This year, the show will feature the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, including its social media ambassador program. Through the program, people who use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help the food bank by promoting its activities.