COMSTRAT 561: Persuasion for Professional Communicators

Whose Voice Matters?


Citizen engagement covers much more than marching up a street carrying a banner and shouting slogans, or ticking off check boxes on a ballot. In a democracy, people have the right and the responsibility to take part at all levels, local, state and national. From a government  program and policy development standpoint, people’s voices matter.

But, it can be hard to find ways to share your voice as a citizen. And it can be hard for the clunky machinery of government to make space for citizen voices. In our new communication’s world, the activity and noise can be overwhelming, frustrating people when they try to engage in meaningful ways. People shut down. Democracy falters. How can today’s communication tools be used to better support citizen engagement? Rather than just as a tool to persuade others to my way of thinking?

In this course I explored key theories, concepts, strategies, and processes of persuasion and social influence, considering “how persuaders use strategic communication to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of others?” Students were asked to practice applying what we learned to a political or social advocacy issue using Facebook as a platform. Accordingly, I created a Facebook group Whose Voice Matters? to explore the impact of social media on citizen engagement. At the end of the class, group members asked that it be continued. I hear from folks who don’t comment or click that they follow the postings and appreciate the perspectives. From the core group of folks, feedback is positive about the value to them.

Facebook blog articles I authored:

Applying Pratkanis – Collaboratory to Citizen’s Climate Lobby

Ladders and pinwheels -citizen participation defined

Social Movements and Citizen Voices

Several short written pieces produced for class assignments:

Cognitive dissonance and time changes everything

Tea Yesterday, Tea Today, Tea Tomorrow

Elaboration Likelihood Model and Gung-Ho Groceries

Blurring the lines with advergames

Final project presentation:



(And, because redundancy is our friend . . . )

COM561 Whose Voice Matters Final Presentation (my powerpoint presentation with notes and references cited page) (link to my VoiceThread powerpoint presentation upload and fellow student commentary)


Please click here to review this work.


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