RSS: Solving the World’s Energy Crunch One Person at a Time?

The August 15 issue of Wired has an article about using “ambient information” to generate peer pressure on individuals to achieve a social good. In particular, Thompson suggests that if we make a game out of conserving energy — by publicizing our individual energy use through our web sites — that we could create a competition around reducing our energy usage.

Here’s an even wilder idea: How about making our energy use visible to everyone? Imagine if your daily consumption were part of your Facebook page — and broadcast to your friends by RSS feed. That would trigger what Ambient Devices CEO David Rose calls the sentinel effect: You’d work harder to conserve so you don’t look like a jackass in front of your peers.

Are there ways, I wonder, in which libraries can use a similar approach to foster library usage? Maybe build a small tool that lets library users show the money they saved by not buying the book they just read from an online bookstore? Or perhaps brag about how much time they saved by consulting a reference librarian? As more people put more information about themselves and their activities into social networking and other sites, perhaps libraries should make it easier for their patrons to publicize our institutions’ benefits.

2 thoughts on “RSS: Solving the World’s Energy Crunch One Person at a Time?”

Comments are closed.