"Is persuasion dead?"

6 Jun

…asks Matt Miller in the New York Times.

“Is it possible in America today to convince anyone of anything he doesn’t already believe? If so, are there enough places where this mingling of minds occurs to sustain a democracy?”

In addition to the concerns this raises in me as a citizen, it affects me in my career as a writer. My job since November has been to write pieces that will, ideally, help lead to someone buying one technology product rather than another (or none at all). I know there are plenty of people out there who are going to read my stuff and think (after Drew Carey), “Blah, blah blah, lies, lies lies.”

Which of course would be Bad for Business, and extremely Bad for Me. But from my perspective, just as bad are the people who don’t need to read my stuff because they’ve already made up their minds the other way. Persuasive writing needs an audience of the undecided and open-minded to be effective. In order for there to be a strong demand for persuasive writing, that audience needs to be substantial in some way.

All I know is that I keep getting assignments to write new marketing pieces; so someone up there believes that this audience still exists, and that it’s important to reach them.

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One Response to “"Is persuasion dead?"”

  1. zia June 8, 2005 at 12:14 pm #

    Oh Wade, I love your idealism. It’s very refreshing …

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