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Cisco's social media experiment in encouraging green behavior

Posting in Education

Networking giant uses social network to associate itself with green behavior at home.

Cisco's experiment in using social media to encourage green "acts" has been spruced up a bit. The One Million Acts of Green web site now includes a section called Green U, which suggests simple ways that the average person can address his or her individual carbon footprint. Actually, quite honestly it's not so much of a real education section as it is a list of rather basic things for water conservation or recycling.

As the name suggests, the One Million Acts of Green site suggests that no gesture is too small when it comes to acting with the environment and natural resources in mind. There are actually about 165,000 "acts" documented on the site so far, which means there's plenty of upside against the promise of that name. Cisco suggests something like 150 different things you should/could do in the categories of Community, Home, Low-Cost, School and Transportation. The site was developed by a social networking company called GreenNexxus, which has a platform specifically running projects like this.

In order to hook new and existing visitors, Cisco is running a Three to Green sweepstakes that encourages site registrants to document their actions. For every three things you do that are acknowledge on the site's list of suggestions, you get a chance to win $5,000 in eco-products from BuyGreen.com. You can get involved either at the site itself or via the Facebook page.

What, praytell, is an enterprise networking and video communications technology company like Cisco doing with a site like this?

Personally, I see this as grassroots effort for the company to start creating a name for itself among consumers. After all, the company isn't exactly on a par with consumer electronics brands like Sony or Samsung but it has a home energy management product in the offing. So, you might want to consider this Cisco's way of building a database on potential consumers that might have a predisposition to use that technology. One thing I really do like about the site is the resources that it includes for K-12 classrooms, which are made possible by Cisco's relationship with the Green Schools Alliance. Starting them young, I guess.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure