Sunday, January 29, 2006

Persuasive Writing

As it pertains to my flames about "regulating the net".

Had to write a journal entry on "How to Write Persuasivly". So I used my flames as a counter example. Follows the entry:


Persuasive writing is used to either shape the readers attitude on a topic, to reinforce existing attitudes about a topic, or to reverse attitudes on a topic. The writer should begin by deciding which strategy they wish to pursue, and choose their rhetorical tactics based on the overall strategy. Some of the tactics a writer can use include emphasizing the benefits of the position to the reader, address the readers concerns, show sound logical reasoning in support of the strategy, or to use reliable evidence to support the strategy. The written work should be strongly organized with a clear focus. Your point must not be hidden behind literary or rhetorical devices. The writer also needs to quickly establish their creditability to the reader and establish common ground for the discussion.

A fine example of how *not* to persuade people to your point of view can be found in my discussion postings on the topic of internet regulation. I did not speak from a position of authority, I did not establish a common ground for the discussion. I did not speak in terms that the readers would understand, comprehend and agree with. I used flamboyant rhetorical technique to incite disagreement, inflame opinion and drive the readers to make hasty judgments. I used personal attacks and comparisons to hateful figures. None of those strategies will work to persuade people to your point of view. In a discussion forum, where the objective is to find as many different viewpoints as possible, it was a valid post. However, if I truly wanted to persuade the people that the Internet should not be regulated or censored, I should have used a much different technique. First, address their concerns. Feel their pain. Introduce the concepts of why censorship is a bad thing gently. Provide realistic, real world examples, evidence and statements of fact. Reiterate their concerns, and show them that there are other ways to believe and behave. Allow the reader to absorb the information and draw their own conclusion based on the information presented, so they will feel that their newfound support for a free and open Internet is their idea, not something forced upon them.
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