I've been remiss in failing to mention the Stanford Persuasive Technologies Lab's (relatively) new blog, Captology Notebook.
Just the techie-tweaking comics in the occasional "Tuesday Funnies" posts make the blog worth checking out.
Providing yet another reason for me to be thankful I met her, my fiance Yvonne DiVita ran an interview on her Lip-Sticking blog, with "Smart Man Online" William Slawski. Yvonne's second question honed in on Slawski's discussion of credibility on his A Nasty Bit of Business blog, which led promptly to the new Captology Notebook blog.
The blog has been up since April of this year and gives a public glimpse into the work at the Lab. Because it has already accumulated some wonderful material on how information technology can be used (for good or ill) to persuade people, it is well worth browsing through the archives. To help induce you to do so, I recommend locating all of the TOP TEN "Behavoirs Web Sites Want From You." Each entry in this series describes a common tactic used on Web sites to presuade you to provide information and explains "What they gain (and you lose)." Many of these posts include screen shots to illustrate the tactics discussed.
The first post in the series, back on May 13, introduced the philosophy behind the Lab's work: "the web is about persuasion, not information. Our lab has identified the top ten behaviors that websites want from you." The last post in the series appeared on September 8. It is well worth your time to look through all of them.
In another early post, Lab Director BJ Fogg, noted their interest in the persuasive power of stories and his conversation with Jessica Hammer on the topic:
At one point in the conversation I said, "Narrative is the one persuasion strategy for which there is no defense. A good story always has an impact at some level."The Captology Notebook blog will also lead you to the site for the Web Credibility Project, another of BJ Fogg's projects at Stanford.
Jessica's response was a smart one: "The only defense," she said, "is a better story."
I've written about his book, Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, in an earlier post, and want to add here that the chapters on web credibility (Chs. 6 and 7) present the work at Stanford up to the point of publication (2003). The book and the blog complement each other well.
Hope you enjoy the discoveries as much as I have. And remember, don't thank me, thank Yvonne!