Media Majlis hosts session on dynamics of persuasion in digital age

September 16, 2021
The emphasis on meaning and active audience participation in the creation of persuasive messages are key changes that have been brought by the digital media evolution, according to Tim Borchers, author of Persuasion in the Media Age. Borchers, speaking at an event – The Dynamics of Persuasion – hosted by the Media Majlis, discussed the relationship between persuasion, media, and culture, in a conversation with Northwestern Qatar Professor Susan Dun.
According to Borchers, contemporary digital media presents a complex web of influences in which audiences are exposed to more media and content than ever and both the sender and receiver of messages are involved in creating the persuasive result. This, he said, resulted in many words and content having different meanings, “and it is really a battle sometimes by persuaders to determine what words mean.”
Another key characteristic of persuasion today is caused by the shift in the audience role in the persuasion process. “Audience is very much in control of the persuasive situation today,” noted Borchers. “They used to be very passive -- would just listen to the speaker and choose to adopt the speaker’s idea or not --  but today we see audience members playing a very active role, in not only responding to persuasive messages but really creating their own persuasive messages as well.”
As individuals are surrounded by content and messages in the media age, Borchers explained that persuasion has become ubiquitous but also invisible at the same time. “We are consistently surrounded by logos and brands, and we just get numb to them, but these logos and messages have an effect that is pretty significant but often invisible to us.”
The Dynamics of Persuasion event is part of the museum’s Unraveling Persuasion exhibit. The next event – Cross-culture Persuasion – is planned for October 19th at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Basma Ibrahim DeVries, professor of communication studies at Concordia University.
To learn more about the museum and its programs, please visit the Media Majlis website.