Social networking sites as platforms to persuade behaviour change in domestic energy consumption

Foster, Derek (2009) Social networking sites as platforms to persuade behaviour change in domestic energy consumption. Masters thesis, University of York.

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Social Networking Sites as Platforms to Persuade Behaviour Change in Domestic Energy Consumption.
Masters thesis from University of York
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Abstract

This MSc project addresses the following research question – “Can online social networks such as Facebook facilitate the motivation and behaviour change to reduce energy consumption in the home?” An investigation into the role of social interaction in social networks provides evidence to support the research question. The project undertook an extensive literature review and identified a gap in current knowledge regarding energy monitoring systems that are socially enabled. A participatory design workshop was then held to generate initial concept ideas and prototype interfaces. A final system using the Facebook application platform was designed and implemented by the author called Wattsup. An experimental design was then developed to evaluate the system which involved recruiting eight households for an eighteen day trial. This was supplemented with a qualitative study of comments generated by users and also in semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that the users of the Wattsup energy application integrated in Facebook assisted the participants in reducing their energy consumption. Types of energy information displayed in the application were both live and historical measurements as well as Co2 emissions, publicly viewable to participants and others on their personal Facebook friends list. Public viewing was implemented for comparison purposes as well as introducing peer pressure and competition amongst like-minded friends. Further analysis of the participant’s social interaction activity with the energy application revealed higher awareness of their energy usage behaviour was present. Positive effects of the results were lower energy costs and fewer Co2 emissions released upon the environment from the participants by using the socially enabled energy application. To test the theory of a positive effect of social interaction on domestic energy consumption, two Facebook energy applications were developed by the author. One of the applications contained socially enabled features, while the other displayed only the participant’s personal energy usage with no social features or capability to view other participant’s energy information.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:This MSc project addresses the following research question – “Can online social networks such as Facebook facilitate the motivation and behaviour change to reduce energy consumption in the home?” An investigation into the role of social interaction in social networks provides evidence to support the research question. The project undertook an extensive literature review and identified a gap in current knowledge regarding energy monitoring systems that are socially enabled. A participatory design workshop was then held to generate initial concept ideas and prototype interfaces. A final system using the Facebook application platform was designed and implemented by the author called Wattsup. An experimental design was then developed to evaluate the system which involved recruiting eight households for an eighteen day trial. This was supplemented with a qualitative study of comments generated by users and also in semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that the users of the Wattsup energy application integrated in Facebook assisted the participants in reducing their energy consumption. Types of energy information displayed in the application were both live and historical measurements as well as Co2 emissions, publicly viewable to participants and others on their personal Facebook friends list. Public viewing was implemented for comparison purposes as well as introducing peer pressure and competition amongst like-minded friends. Further analysis of the participant’s social interaction activity with the energy application revealed higher awareness of their energy usage behaviour was present. Positive effects of the results were lower energy costs and fewer Co2 emissions released upon the environment from the participants by using the socially enabled energy application. To test the theory of a positive effect of social interaction on domestic energy consumption, two Facebook energy applications were developed by the author. One of the applications contained socially enabled features, while the other displayed only the participant’s personal energy usage with no social features or capability to view other participant’s energy information.
Keywords:energy, persuasive technologies, behaviour change, HCI, opendata
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:6253
Deposited By: Derek Foster
Deposited On:26 Sep 2012 17:22
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:14

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