Amplification: The Bigger the Better

The overall goal of my group’s campaign is for the city of Pittsburgh to receive adequate funding to be able to improve the infrastructure of the many structurally deficient bridges in the area.  In order to do so, two main audiences need to be addressed: government officials and citizens/commuters of the area.  Because of this, our campaign pieces need to be detailed and fact-based so that readers and/or listeners can become passionate and concerned about the problem, and possibly present the case to city officials.  However, they must also be worded simply enough so that information can be spread easily to other ordinary citizens and commuters.  Without widespread knowledge about the infrastructure problem, our campaign will never reach its goal.


Ridolfo and DeVoss’ section on amplification contains valuable information in regards to spreading information and reaching wider audiences.  The use of the internet will be crucial in our campaign plan, and as the two authors point out, the concept of amplification through the internet is relatively simple and can be incredibly effective.  They describe the use of “attack videos” in their piece:


“In the case of short attack videos, only the footage of the actual attack need come from Iraq. Once an affiliated individual has received that footage and basic accompanying information, which can be transferred over the Internet or by mobile phone, he has only to add the insurgent group’s logo, a short title sequence, and perhaps a soundtrack with a motivational song. He then uploads the resulting video product to a free upload-download site and posts an announcement to a forum. The video-editing software required to produce such a video is cheap and readily available. (p. 35)”


Reading this passage actually changed my outlook on my second campaign piece.  While I originally thought that a brochure describing the bridge problem and what needed to be done would suffice, I now realize that the internet should be the main concern.  As Ridolfo and Devoss show in their work, the audience of a public piece can exponentially increase through the use of the internet.  Now, for our campaign, the problem is figuring out what type of internet piece will be most effective and easy to be shared.


In my experience, I believe people become incredibly passionate when their hometown or home area is being affected.  On social media, there are often passionate articles and videos that are posted, and then are repeatedly shared.  It is certainly possible that a dramatic video, with pictures of the deficient bridges and views of the city would be most effective in reaching my group’s desired audience.  Viewers will then most likely share the video, and most likely add their own sentence or two explaining their receptions and/or opinions about the problem.  In extreme cases, viewers might create their own video showing their reaction to the original video.  These reaction videos have become more popular over the years, especially on YouTube.


As the authors state, “Rhetorical velocity is, simply put, a strategic           approach to composing for rhetorical delivery.”  When composing my second campaign piece, it is important that I take into consideration how it will be perceived and altered by my directed audience.  In doing so, I can determine how the information I present can be spread even further, thus increasing concern about and interest of the campaign.

2 thoughts on “Amplification: The Bigger the Better

  1. After reading this article, I also found myself focused on the amplification section. For a lot of problems, often times one of the best way to start to bring about a change is through the internet. I often find myself spending absurd amounts of time on Facebook watching various videos about anything from adopting dogs to helping out my local veterans. After watching these videos, I almost always find myself moved to the point where I start to look for local dog shelters before I realize that I can’t actually bring a dog into the dorm. Because of this, I feel that it would be beneficial for your group to move part of the campaign online so that people would be able to see the condition the bridges are in. When it comes to trying to win over the public, the message has to be as wide spread as possible or there isn’t a chance that it will succeed. My group specifically is creating a website that will be the final focal point of all of our other campaign pieces in order to maximize the spread of our message. Society is definitely moving towards one that relies almost entirely on the internet so, when it comes to writing, authors need to be ready to adjust their delivery methods accordingly.

  2. After reading your blog post I, too, feel that the amplification effect is important to spread your message and especially doing so through the internet. The internet has become such a powerful tool in communicating and spreading news and it is accessible by a great deal of the world. I believe it is a good idea to bring your campaign plan online with some sort of internet source of your choosing because it may spread your message about failing infrastructure more widely than say a brochure. Imagine trying to get ahold of a busy city official and saying “please sir will you read my brochure?” and knowing that won’t work in the slightest. An enticing website that they may stumble upon or accessible infographic that catches their attention may play a bigger role in spreading your message. I completely agree with your statement “I believe people become incredibly passionate when their hometown or home area is being affected” because it’s one something to see a problem occurring somewhere but when it’s in your own backyard you’re going to act on it. A video with pictures of structurally deficient bridges from around Pittsburgh with some important/shocking facts could spark a movement from citizens and action from city officials and general contractors to fix the infrastructure issue.

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