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 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!