A (Brief) Analysis of a Persuasive Technology

Use this exercise to become familiar with the concepts of persuasion - the search model - that Fogg presents in chapters 1 - 5

Go to your wiki name page and start a new page, titled PersuasiveTechYourInitials.

Locate a computer application, a web site, or a device that seeks to persuade (to change attitudes, behaviors, or both, including motivation, worldview and compliance [5]) not by content but by interaction. Mention whether what you're looking at is a matter of microsuasion or macrosuasion.

Then write a description and analysis of a few paragraphs drawing the concepts Fogg discusses in chaps 1 - 5. Place the location or site on the functional triad (chap 2): then, use Fogg's concepts concerning that role to explain how the site or app persuades - as Fogg might explain it. If appropriate, spend a paragraph or two discussing ethical concerns - if you have such concerns.

This can be informal writing: it's not an essay so much as a set of refined notes of description and analysis, as you've been writing throughout the course. But try to keep to the descriptive and analytical rather than the evaluative. It's best to start with a paragraph of description to acquaint us what what you're looking at.

An example
Consider Eliza, an old application that keeps reappearing. There's a web version at http://www.manifestation.com/neurotoys/eliza.php3

You might look at Eliza, and in the process of looking it over and describing it, decide that it's a good example of a computer program as a social actor (chap 5); and on even closer consideration, analyze it for how it uses language (101) and social dynamics (105) to persuade the user to disclose things they wouldn't normally. You might also find the use of Eliza to elicit information ethically dubious and so write a paragraph concerning appropriate and inappropriate use. Of course, Eliza might fit into other areas of the triad, or yield to analysis of other aspects in the social actors concepts of chapter 5.

You're free to analyze Eliza, by the way.


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