Did I Change Your Mind? – Reflective Post

Hello and welcome back to another blog post. Once again, the PLP 11 class has officially completed yet another project. The driving question was “how might we use our voice to effect change?” and the emphasis of the project was all about persuasive writing. This project was actually quite fun as it had one key difference to the majority of other projects in school. Wee had the opportunity to choose what we wrote about, which always makes for a fun project. So without further ado, lets get into it. 

I’d say the biggest thing that I took away from this project about persuasive writing is that you must know who your audience is. If you know your audience, you know what can persuade them. In my case, I was trying to convince someone to stop doing something, specifically drink caffeine. So my first step was to figure out why the person I was trying to convince (Matthew) was drinking so much caffeine in the first place. If I knew why he was drinking caffeine, I could figure out what he could do differently. Without a call to action I’d just be telling him what he’s doing wrong without offering a solution. Reading it wouldn’t be very helpful to him. So when I wrote my piece, I made sure to keep these things in mind.


The other thing I kept in mind was a persuasive ad technique called Ethos Pathos and Logos. These modes of persuasion target credibility and ethics (Ethos), emotions and feelings (Pathos), and logic and reason (Logos). Knowing what would persuade my audience was essential in choosing which of these to focus on. 

Now that you know what I was focused on when writing my piece, I think its now time for you to read my piece. Keep in mind that this was written in the form of an “Am I The Asshole” Reddit post.

I (16M) have a friend (also 16M) who enjoys drinking energy drinks like Rockstar, Monster, and G-Fuel. It has gotten better now but a few months ago he was drinking up to 3 energy drinks a day. It eventually got to the point where I was seriously concerned for my friend’s health and I couldn’t bear to watch him drink liquid cancer so much. The only thing I felt like I could do was ask for him to stop. Multiple studies have proven that drinking energy drinks introduces numerous health problems for young adults and teenagers. The American College of Cardiology has warned that drinking energy drinks can cause long term medical issues like coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis in teenagers. The short term effects of too much caffeine are even more heart problems like aortic dissections and irregular heartbeats. I can’t imagine what drinking multiple energy drinks a day would do to you. There’s no way to prove how much caffeine is actually in these drinks either! A 16oz can of an energy drink claims to have 160mg of caffeine, 24oz cans have 240mg, and G-Fuel can have 150-300mg depending on how you take it. The problem is these energy drinks are labelled as “dietary supplements” by the Food and Drug Association, which means they aren’t under as much supervision as other soft drinks and sodas, allowing them to avoid declaring how much caffeine is in the drink. The lack of oversight by the FDA allows these companies to add more caffeine than advertised, or maybe ingredients that aren’t even fit for human consumption. I mean seriously, G-Fuel has been proven to have small amounts of lead in their drinks. I don’t want to tell him what to do with his life, but there’s no way these drinks are a good way to get an energy boost. 8oz of coffee provides you with more than enough caffeine, but also avoids the extra ingredients found in energy drinks. Rockstar and Monster Energy both have additional stimulants in their drinks like sugar and guarana extract, which just increases the danger of these drinks. A single 16oz can of Monster contains 54-62g of sugar, which immediately exceeds the recommended daily limit. There are so many more healthy options for an energy boost; cinnamon, kombucha, and tea are all healthy ‘pick me ups’. All I ask is that he consider them. So… am I the asshole?

I don’t know if you could tell but I had trouble focusing on only one of the persuasive ad techniques. I was trying to “scare” Matthew into changing his ways, but the technique I tried used a lot of stats and information. I’m not sure if using both took away the persuasiveness of the writing but if I were to do it again, I’d try to focus on one persuasive technique and dig deep into it. 

Another thing I think I could have done differently was find better alternatives for Matthew. Through my extensive research on my audience, I deduced that he was drinking caffeine for energy reasons, but the alternatives I listed in my writing weren’t things Matthew would eat or drink. What normal teenager would eat prunes?  This was one of the first things mentioned in my peer feedback, but I still think I could have found better alternatives. 

Now for Matthews feedback. Matthew enjoyed reading my work but had declared far before I wrote it that he was not going to be convinced. His biggest piece of feedback was that some of the health risks I mentioned, like atherosclerosis, were just common side effects of too much caffeine and cholesterol instead of exclusive to energy drinks. Even with all that being said, I’ve been checking in with him to see what his caffeine intake is like and apparently it has decreased. I’d call that a successful persuasive text!


Like I said before, this was a really fun project. I enjoyed the level of freedom we were given with choosing our topic. I’ve said in recent blog posts that I struggle with engagement in some projects, which negatively affects my work. The beauty of this project was that I could choose something I was passionate about or interested in, thus forcing myself to be engaged in the project. This would also allow me to write a better persuasive text. If I were to do something differently in this project it would be to conduct more research on the things I include in my text, like atherosclerosis. If I had a deep understanding of what I mention, I could use it to my advantage in my text. 

In conclusion, I really liked this project and I hope you liked reading my reflection. See you later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *