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Arthur Lupia: Our Impact on the Internet (IPP2010 Keynote)

16 Sep 2010

What is our impact on the Internet? Have we been as effective as we could have been in changing people’s beliefs and behaviours? Why do many well-intentioned projects (eg making people participate in politics ultimately fail? Arthur Lupia argues that many well-meant enterprises fail to take into account how people are, in terms of biology, social behaviour (eg how we learn), and political contexts.

In order to successfully persuade others, Arthur Lupia posits three necessary conditions:

  • Attention: as people have a limited capacity to pay attention, your message will only get through if they feel its urgency and relevance for them.

  • Elaboration: relate your message to the audience. People will only listen if it is unique and highly relevant to them. Ways to achieve this is by making it local, concrete and immediate but also by making the desired change possible, making clear that the desired effect is within reach.

  • Credibility: credibility is bestowed on someone by the audience and depends on whether the audience believes (no matter if correctly) that you are knowledgeable and share their interests.

This is the opening keynote lecture from the Policy and Internet journal’s conference: Internet, Politics, Policy 2010: An Impact Assessment (IPP2010, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, 16-17 September 2010).