Friday, February 18, 2005

The Propaganda Power of Web Apps 

Anyone who doubts the power of simple web applications should take a look at the Social InSecurity Benefits Calculator. It's just a simple CGI interface, but this page contains propaganda more powerful than any speech or brochure. You plug in your salary and the year you were born and this application calculates your estimated Social Security Benefits under the current plan and under President Bush's proposed partial privitization plan.

This web app has two advantages as an effective marketing tool: it's personalized, and it offers numbers that have the appearance of hard facts (a computer calculated them, so they must be correct). The number in the black "Annual Cut" box is a more relevant and convincing argument than old-fashioned rhetoric. Senator Schumer (D, NY) has a very smart staff.


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