Tag: communications

No, energy is not too cheap!

Dumb Thermostat UI

Is energy too cheap to motivate consumers to change their habits and use less?

In the Smart Grid Technology conference I attended in London last week a number of discussion points came up over and over again. I wrote already about how utility companies are wondering how to engage their customers around smart grid projects. Another topic which raised its head frequently was the question of how to motivate customers to change when energy is so cheap!

The obvious answer is to raise the price of energy, and this will happen over time, but it is the wrong answer – in the short-term at any rate.

The issue is not that energy is too cheap, rather it is that people have lots of demands on their attention. To make it worth people’s time to become involved in energy saving activities, if the return is not very high (because energy is cheap) then the process of reducing energy consumption needs to be made simple!

Look at the thermostat above. This is the thermostat to control the central heating/air conditioning in my home. I like to think I am reasonably technical. I have been a Windows sysadmin for a multi-national company, managing Windows, Exchange, Active Directory, ISA and SQL Servers. I edit php files regularly, I remotely manage my own CentOS server via SSH and I’ve even done quite a bit of regex scripting of .htaccess files!

But this thermostat is beyond me! …

Journal of Employee Communications unable to grasp simple communications!

David R. Murray is the editor of the Journal of Employee Communication Management and in his latest editorial, he has shown that he is well behind the times when it comes to communications!

He writes in the article about a communications consultant called Allan Jenkins, who is, he says:

a communication consultant with a blog. (Which is like saying he’s a dog with a tail.)

One day I was reading his stupidly-named blog, “Desirable Roasted Coffee.� I read his blog a lot, despite the fact that Jenkins is pretty much a nobody in the communication business.

Now, the first problem I have with this, apart from the downright rudeness, is the fact that he doesn’t link to Allan Jenkins blog when he says it. This from someone supposed to be the editor of a Journal of Communications? You might think – aha! Tom, he was being clever. He didn’t want to give Jenkins’ blog any Google Juice by linking to it and ordinarily, I’d say “d’oh! of course, you are right” but in this case, I genuinely believe Mr. Murray doesn’t know how to link – there are no links at all, to anything, anywhere in his editorial.

Worse, in the article, he admits he can’t get his head around social media and he asks his readers to tell him the advantages of social media:

Is social media The Next Big Thing in our business? I know you’ll let me know by answering this urgent call for essays. Please, readers. Please try to succeed where Allan Jenkins has failed: teaching me (and your colleagues) about how social media can make for better internal communications.

I’m sorry, what? Essays? Do they have to be handed in on lined paper, in blue pen, on every second line and signed by our parents too?

Oh dear, has the man never heard of comments? Obviously not or he would allow comments on his editorial thereby immediately being brought the advantages of social media!

I repeat – this man is the editor of the Journal of Employee Communication Management! Is it any wonder blogs and social software are slow taking off in the workplace when the commnications journals can’t get their head around concepts like two-way communications?