Ben Tremblay · @bentrem

4th Mar 2011 from Twitlonger

A long reply to @StKonrath's ""Like", "share", "recommend" - newsrooms forced to adjust to positive emotion" > <

I'm going to stretch a bit here. I think you're onto something foundational. Allow me a short "back-story" to connect the dots.

Many years ago (mid-70s) I was less than pleased with the results of a series of public consultations on public policy. (Specifically, how General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade gave us great bargains on such as cocoa while pauperizing the growers.) The workshops and talks were great. Not only well attended (Would we see that today?) but energetic.
What put me off / bummed me out / put my brain in a whirl was a couple of things I'd noticed. One had to do with how smoothly the procedures went, and the other was the number of people who came away with confident opinions, often new opinions. Sound like good news? Yes. Sounds like. But I noticed that, in the former case, from time to time someone would bring up a peculiar point of view (Think outliers in a data set!) and was quite subtly mooted, by a number of methods. (I explored this decades later when I returned to university to study cog- and social-psych, looking into the formation of opinions.) And in the latter case, oh yes, the opinions were confident. But they weren't well-based. The individual could cite a scrap of logic here or there (Is what good speakers do, nae?) if they could back up their arguments at all.

So the thing is: the workshops arrayed an array of presentations that pleased the participants. The "liked" the material. They found the material moving, if you will. But ... you see ... they really didn't "get into it". They were moved? Convinced? Perhaps. But they were notRPTnot engaged.

So what I beavered away at for years and decades was: along what axis do we "re-orient" in order to engage and ... forgive me ... edify?
I set my sights on this: "participatory deliberation". Until and unless an individual can, at least to some degree, make a cogent argument for /whatever/ opinion they held, and follow that argument up the way we do when we're truly engaged ... until and unless that's the case, then we're involved in little more than manipulation at best. At worst we're involved in the worst sort of "manufacture of consent".

So I finally (1976 - 2003 ... 27yrs ... I wish I were clever!) came up with a design that presents "catchy" stuff in a way that maximizes the exchange.
And yes, folk really do enjoy thinking. I mean really thinking. I mean inquisitive, investigative, energetic thinking. Folk philosophy, yae?


p.s. (dusty)

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