Are Clean Tech and Sustainability Types Afraid of Web 2.0?

by Marguerite Manteau-Rao

Social media and sustainability may align in at least ten ways, according to Max Gladwell, but they certainly do not intersect very much in actuality.

Proof is this quick search I conducted on Twitter, of last 24 hours of business conversations on “sustainability”, “clean tech” and “green”. Here are the results. I only kept original conversations, not automatic tweets:

19 tweets in 24 hours, that’s not very many. Of course, not all conversations on clean tech and sustainability got captured with my basic search. Still, it gives an indication of how little the green business folks are using social media. My experience of the green business people around me, is that they tend to be very engaged in real life networking, and not so much in virtual networks. This has a lot to do with clean tech and sustainability types’ lesser familiarity with Web 2.0 tools.

Marguerite Manteau-Rao is a green blogger and marketing consultant on sustainability and social media issues. Her blog, La Marguerite, focuses on behavioral solutions to climate change and other global sustainability issues. She also writes for the Huffington Post.

8 replies
  1. Ted
    Ted says:

    The intersection of cleantech, sustainability and web2.0 is where I'm living these days. One of the companies I'm working with is focusing on web2.0 tools combined with OD models/expertise to support change makers working on sustainability. http://www.dreamfish.comAll of the dreamfish blogs talk about this and you can see our tweets at @love2dreamfish or @tedko

  2. Furqan Nazeeri
    Furqan Nazeeri says:

    That's an interesting data point re: Twitter although I'm not terribly surprised. Twitter puts some tough constraints on the conversation. I "listened" to a Twitter debate between the Obama and McCain camp on technology policy and it was painful to see the attempt to have a nuanced, complex conversation 140 characters at a time.On our network of sustainability professionals ( there are more and more meaty discussions every day.

  3. Us
    Us says:

    I still fail to see the benefit of using twitter to update to the world what i am doing. I am not sure you can equate the lack of green people updating twitter to the lack of green people using web 2.0

  4. Daniel Etra
    Daniel Etra says:

    I don't disagree completely with your conclusion, but I would argue that twitter is not a tool meant for carrying on complex conversations, and most "sustainability" conversations are fairly complex. To evaluate how much "sustainability types" are using social media, you really need to look not at the content on twitter but at who is using it.

  5. simon.frankum
    simon.frankum says:

    Interesting comments that on the whole concur with what is happening on this side of the pond! I work for a company in this space called 2degrees ( Let me apologise now for the following advertising spiel, but I do genuinely feel some readers of this blog can benefit from what we are trying to achieve at 2degrees. Our primary goal is to help business implement their green business strategy via a web 2.0 networking platform. Some of the most successful networks so far concentrate on low carbon data centre management and reducing carbon output in the commercial real estate sector. I can strongly recommend visiting our site at

  6. Joe
    Joe says:

    I'm not sure I agree there is not alot of "green" content on social networking or blogs. But what I think is largely absent is more nuanced discussion. I try and monitor the discussion of environmental topics on the internet for my blog. I think it is difficult to find a "business" perspective represented. It is mostly populated by those with an activist perspective.

  7. Cali
    Cali says:

    I was very interested in this topic, as my company specializes in Web 2.0, social media and is working with William Loiry, president of Equity International and organizer of critical resource summits. I am trying to understand how to utilize social media for him and starting conversations about people interested in topics such as sustainable energy, solar and wind power, etc. Ted, dreamfish sounds like a powerful sounding board. I'm going to have to check it out! Web 2.0 isn't the end all of real life networking, but it can enhance the networking by keeping an open line of communication between people at all times.

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