made me think | can facebook make good energy habits go viral?

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facebook, in patnership with the natural resources defense council and opower has launched on the 3rd of april the social energy app, a tool to easily track how many kilowatt-hours you consume each month and broadcast your numbers on your facebook wall, alongside photo albums, status updates, and wall posts.

the idea is that people spend a lot of time on facebook — comparing interests, sharing photos, and following the activities of their friends. now they can also start seeing how their energy use stacks up against their friends’ habits. with a mix of peer pressure, competition, and positive reinforcement, social energy aims to encourage users to lower their electricity consumption –- and then mantain it. unfortunately, the app works only in the states.

A lot of researchers are actually working on the same principles: peer pressure, competition, and publicly sharing energy-use data, expecially in the domestic context.
many studies are currently done on the influence of social media on pro-environmental behaviours. it is also one of the starting points of my phd. the idea that the interaction on social media can lead people to be more interested in sustainability, therefore enhancing their attitudes and behaviours towards a pro-environmental model is at the heart of my research. the question is not if social media can have an impact on people thinking and behaving, but how intense and deep the impact is, and if it can lead to a permanent behaviour-change.
the research is on-going and the question is still open, but for sure it will be developed in the future.

here there is some literature you may find interesting:

Fischer, E. and A. R. Reuber (2011). Social interaction via new social media: (How) can interactions on Twitter affect effectual thinking and behavior? Journal of Business Venturing 26(1): 1-18.

Foster, D., M. Blythe, et al. (2010). Competitive carbon counting: can social networking sites make saving energy more enjoyable? Proceedings of the 28th of the international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Atlanta, Georgia, USA, ACM.

Mankoff, J., D. Matthews, et al. (2007). Leveraging Social Networks To Motivate Individuals To Reduce Their Ecological Footprints. 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Ellison, N. B., C. Steinfield, et al. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites. Journal of computer-mediated communication 12(4): 1143-1168.

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3 commenti Aggiungi il tuo

  1. mountainmae ha detto:

    The ability to share good ideas & have them go viral is reality.

    Mi piace

    1. Monica Pianosi ha detto:

      you’re right. it is a reality. but how much of what you read on blogs, twitter and facebook has a real, practical impact on our lives and how much is just a lovely or interesting inspiration that we would like to put into practice but that at the end do not fit in our routine? i don’t have an answer yet, but i think it’s a fascinating area of research!

      Mi piace

      1. mountainmae ha detto:

        Motivation follows movement. Do baby steps. The example that comes to mind is I decided to use the “free” time I had. I started doing relaxation breathing for 3 breaths or more at red lights and when using the bathroom. Two times I was not going anywhere anyway.

        Mi piace

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