The Right Tone

I learned the other day in my marketing class about one-sided and two-sided messaging strategies in promotion. One sided usually just praises, but two sided both praises and points out shortcomings, and the latter works better for audiences who are currently opposed to or have negative associations with what you are trying to promote. If I consider my capstone project to be a “product” I think this is super applicable.

My project is centered around the world of influencers, more specifically the concept of how someone grows and sustains a personal brand on social media. To many, especially in mainstream media coverage, this isn’t seen as a legit career. It’s weird and foreign and destructive. To me, as someone who has been following this industry since its inception back in middle school, I can understand how this industry is much more complicated than a number of followers. So, I’m leaning towards a two-sided messaging strategy here.

The issue I’m having is tone. I’m trying to strike a balance between coming off as curious and excited about my topic, but also a bit cynical or judgemental as well. If I praise too much I might come off as naive or unrealistic, but if I criticize too much then why even write about it? In English 225 we wrote open letters and I wrote mine to an E! News reporter who bashed some young YouTube stars at the Teen Choice Awards for being irrelevant and undeserving of their spotlight. I took a very negative approach, I was very judgy, berating her and preaching at her how to do her job as a reporter better next time – as if I had any expertise. I need to remember that even though I know a lot about this world from my own interest I am not a professional (yet) and need to make sure my tone reflects this. 

One thought to “The Right Tone”

  1. Hey Elana!

    I get where you’re coming from. It’s hard to balance positivity and negativity. I had a consultation in the writing center this semester that dealt with a similar problem. The writer came in with a rhetorical analysis of a piece of PETA propaganda. She clearly didn’t agree with it (or think it was a strong argument), but felt that she had to praise the argument no matter what her analysis was. What we decided to do was reframe her argument so she would argue that PETA’s rhetoric was strong for a certain subset of people.

    I think it’s fine to be ambivalent about the topic of social media influencers. I think it’s just important to address that ambivalence and be clear about the specific things that you disapprove of (and the specific things that you think are cool).

    Good luck!


Leave a Reply