Stanford Prof B.J. Fogg Promotes Peace through Social Media

Graphic from an April 5 blog entry at Pebbles from Paradise, English author, photorapher and family therapis Stephen Bray (profile), now living in Turkey.

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Experimental Psychologist B. J. Fogg’s (email), blog) Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford studies computing product design “to change what people believe and what they do.” In 2008 he wrote a scholarly paper indentifying what he called “mass interpersonal persuasion” which includes

persuasive experience, automated structure, social distribution, rapid cycle, huge social graph, and measured impact.

Usually Fogg looks at mobile phones or the psychology of companies such as Facebook (interview, review on NewsTrust, call for articles), so I was was intrigued to read about his Peace Innovation Project to help folks “use technology to invent peace.”

I’ll be getting in touch with Dr. Fogg to see if I can provide readers with more information, but he admits that he’s swamped and doesn’t always answer his email. So until then, I wanted to point you to the webpage for the Project which asks,

For example, can you imagine a new way to use Google Maps to promote greater harmony? How about Flickr? or Twitter? or perhaps a combination of these?

It wants to bring the Silicon Valley process of innovation to the undefined task of “global harmony.”

Many people test lots of ideas. The insights are shared. And then more trials begin….We believe that a good innovation process will make world peace possible in 30 years. But we also believe that today no one person has the answer. And no single solution will change the world. We must work together to test and create many solutions.

So, if you are a teacher or part of an organization who wants to join the quest, write Dr. Fogg. He’s currently running a new course at Stanford and you can keep up on what’s happening through joining his Facebook group. (natch)

Interestingly, while the Facebook class had a series of sponsors including Amazon and Social Media.com, there are none listed as of today for the Peace Innovation Project. Also interesting, is how Fogg himself uses Facebook in addition to making his classes accessible. He writes,

Friending me on Facebook isn’t really so helpful. I “friend” people I know in real life but not strangers. Yeah, I know that’s not how many do Facebook, but that’s my mode right now.

Yeah, my mode, too.

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