Technologies of Persuasion – the course

I’ve finally finished the syllabus for the first semester of my new NYU/ITP course, Technologies of Persuasion: Marketing, Politics, and Propaganda in a Digital Age.

The whole syllabus can be found here: /itp/persuasion.html Here are some highlights.

his seminar will explore influence techniques from print, graphics, traditional media and social reality as they migrate to the interactive space. We will first study the fundamentals of persuasion, influence, and coercion, and then look at how they have been adapted for use in interactive contexts. These will include email, the web, and cell phones, as well as integrated marketing, “one-to-one” communication, viral media, hacktivism and neuromarketing. We will study a broad range of applications, from simple marketing through online trading, political campaigns, activism, and satire, and discuss the relative ethics of using the same techniques for different purposes.

Readings will include whole books and excerpts from among the following texts:

Coercion and Media Virus by Rushkoff, Postman’s Technopoly, Cluetrain Manifesto, and the CIA Interrogation Manual, as well as writings by Adorno, Barbrook, Caldini, Barthes, Larry Lessig, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, MoveOn, RtMark, and etoy, We will also watch the documentaries Century of the Self, Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders, and the Politics of Fear.

Although students with all ranges of interests are welcome to take the course, be forewarned: the seminar will be structured to allow for a highly critical analysis of the role that marketing and influence techniques have played in both online and offline society.

required :

Rushkoff, Douglas. Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say. 1-57322-829

recommended :

Bernays, Edward. Propaganda. (intro by Miller) 0-9703125-9-8
Fogg, BJ. Persuasive Technology. 1-55860-643-2
Rushkoff, Douglas Media Virus. 0-345-39774-6
Metzger, Richard. Book of Lies. 0-9713942-7x
Howard, Martin. We Know What You Want. 1-932857-05-2
Postman, Neil. Technopoly.

Technologies of Persuasion: by the week.

1. Intro to course.
2. Public Relations and Propaganda
3. Person to Person Persuasion.
4. Persuading and Persuasive Groups
5. Marketing and Technology
6. Captology: Persuasive Computers and the Web
7. Sight and Sound
8. NLP – hypnosis, pacing, and framing.
9. Total Immersion
10. Viral / guerilla
11. Hi-Tech, Wireless and Beyond
12. Deep Brain and the Future
13. Magick
14. Final Discussions