Participatory Propaganda: A Model

How do you know you aren’t a propagandist?

Becoming a propagandist is easier than you think.

You go online, search things that interest you. Soon you find others of like mind that share your beliefs and ideas. The more you read and share, the more content with a similar view begins to appear in your Facebook feed and search returns. Your likeminded friends help, of course, because they too are finding news and memes that resonate with your shared thinking. From time to time, a relative or past acquaintance might challenge your posts, but you quickly engage in a public debate online, attempting to demonstrate the error of this detractor’s thinking. Worse comes to worst, you might block people who really don’t get it. But it doesn’t matter. Your perspective is the correct one, which means you are in the right for trying to show others the light.

Yet, have you stopped to think what all of this means? Why do you share ideas? What’s your aim in arguing a point online? If any of your answers include wanting to make people feel a certain way, change a particular point of view, or get others behind a cause – you might be a propagandist.

This series explores how propaganda is changing in a Digital Age, outlining an emerging hybrid model that is participatory, actively engaging target audiences in the spread of persuasive messaging.

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