Links are more telling than words

A paper by UT professor Miles Efron shows that links do a better job at differentiating between left and right wing blogs than words do.
US left and right wing blogs might both mention “social security” or “iraq” but they would express different opinions. But those blogs would be likely to cite different sources.
This has interesting implications for persuasion. Lakoff would argue that to persuade a conservative of a more traditionally liberal position, one would appeal to that conservative’s nurturant side.
Efron’s results suggest that it’s not enough to invoke compassion — it might help more to cite the Heritage Foundation.
Thanks Prentiss.

2 thoughts on “Links are more telling than words”

  1. I’m glad you found Efron’s paper interesting. However, unlike Lakoff, he wasn’t looking at whether blogs are persuasive, just at how to automatically distinguish among them.

  2. Efron’s insight is useful in thinking about persuasion, even though he’s not talking about persuasion.
    Efron makes an important point that marks discourse can be identified as belonging to a community by the sources it cites, more than the words it uses.
    Part of persuasion is identification — creating the perspection that the speaker and listener are part of “us”. And a big part of identification is citing shared shources.

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