User involvement, social media, and changing patterns of energy use.

Mikael Johnson

Doctor of Science (Technology), Helsinki Institute of Information Technology (HIIT), Aalto University, Finland
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Social Media: Case Habbo

I have had the privilege of following Habbo, a social virtual world for teenagers, and its operator Sulake since 2003. Despite advances in user-centred and participatory design as well as user innovation research, there are fundamental disagreements regarding the role of the users in technical development. I ask

  • How do users’ actions in and around social media effect its design?
  • How do user involvement practices evolve over time and in changing contexts?

Selected Habbo Publications

Johnson M, Hyysalo S, Tamminen S 2010. The Virtuality of Virtual Worlds, or What We Can Learn from Playacting Horse Girls and Marginalized Developers, 603-633. Symbolic Interaction 33 (4). PDF

Johnson M 2010. User Involvement, Social Media, and Service Evolution: The Case of Habbo. 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Kauai, Hawaii, 5–8 January 2010. (Nominated for Best Paper Award). PDF

Johnson M, Sihvonen T 2009. On the Dark Side: Gothic Play and Performance in a Virtual World, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 1 (3). PDF

Lehdonvirta, V, Wilska T-A, Johnson M 2009. Virtual Consumerism: Case Habbo Hotel. Information, Communication & Society, 12 (7). PDF

Johnson M 2007. Unscrambling the "Average User" of Habbo Hotel, Human Technology, 3 (2), 127–153. PDF

Johnson M, Toiskallio K 2007. Who are the Users of Habbo Hotel - and What are they Doing There?, Consumer 2007, Helsinki, Finland, October 2007. PDF

Johnson M, Toiskallio K 2005. Fansites as Sources for User Research: Case Habbo Hotel, IRIS'28, Kristiansand, Norway, August 2005. PDF

Salovaara, A, Johnson M, Toiskallio K, Tiitta S, Turpeinen M 2005. Creative Playmakers and Their Motivations in Four Multiplayer Game Communities, ACE'05, June 2005, Valencia, Spain. PDF


Johnson M 2011. Sosiaalinen media lasten ja nuorten arjessa: Tapaus Habbo Hotel. Teoksessa Aaltonen-Ogbeide, Saastamoinen, Rainio, Vartiainen (toim.) Silmät auki sosiaaliseen mediaan, Eduskunnan tulevaisuus- valiokunnan julkaisu 3/2011. PDF

Johnson M 2009. Habbo lasten ja nuorten arjessa, 177-204. Teoksessa Kulutuksen liikkeet, Kuluttajatutkimuskeskuksen vuosikirja. PDF

User Involvement and Energy Use

During 2008-2010 I was actively involved in the EU research project Changing Behaviour. We applied social research on technological change, with focus on the interaction between energy experts and energy users.

We created a web toolkit to support project managers and their energy change projects for households and small organisations. Check it out at

Selected Publications

Heiskanen E, Johnson M, Robinson S, Vadovics E, Saastamoinen M 2009. Low-Carbon Communities as a Context for Individual Behavioural Change, Energy Policy, 37. PDF

Heiskanen E, Feenstra CFJ, Johnson M, Vadovics E. 2010. Learning about Users and Developing Co-Design Capabilities for Energy Saving on the Local Level. Knowledge Collaboration & Learning for Sustainable Innovation ERSCP-EMSU conference, Delft, The Netherlands, October 25-29, 2010. PDF

Heiskanen E, Feenstra CFJ., Johnson M 2010. Changing Behaviour: A European Action Research Project. Knowledge Collaboration & Learning for Sustainable Innovation ERSCP-EMSU conference, Delft, The Netherlands, October 25-29, 2010. PDF

Heiskanen E, Johnson M, Saastamoinen M, Vadovics E 2009. How Does Consumer Behaviour Change? Examples from Energy Conservation. Future of the Consumer Society. Tampere, Finland, 28-29 May 2009. PDF

Heiskanen E, Johnson M, Saastamoinen M, Vadovics E 2009. Creating Lasting Change in Energy Use Patterns through Improved User Interaction. Joint actions on Climate Change. Aalborg, Denmark, 8-10 June 2009. PDF


Heiskanen, E, Johnson J, Saastamoinen M, Robinson S, Vadovics E 2009. Yhteistoiminta kestävässä kulutuksessa: esimerkkinä hiilipäästöjen vähentäminen, Janus, 17 (3): 200-218. PDF

Miscellaneous: Privacy, Community, Knowledge and Requirements Management, Interaction Design

Tamminen S, Johnson M, Lehmuskallio A 2011.
Yksityisyyden haasteet sosiaalisessa mediassa. Teoksessa Aaltonen-Ogbeide T, Saastamoinen P, Rainio H, Vartiainen T (toim.) Silmät auki sosiaaliseen mediaan. Eduskunnan tulevaisuusvaliokunnan julkaisu 3/2011. PDF

Bylund M, Johnson M, Lehmuskallio A, Seipel P, Tamminen S 2010.
PRIMA — Privacy research through the perspective of a multidisciplinary mash up, 139-160. In Vem reglerar informationssamhället? Nordisk årsbok i rättsinformatik 2006-2008 (Who regulates the information society? The Nordic Yearbook of Law and Informatics 2006-2008). PDF

Lehmuskallio, A, Tamminen S, Johnson M 2009. Managing Privacy on Social Network Sites, Medienamateure, Wie verändern Laien unsere visuelle Kultur?, Universität Siegen 5-7 June 2008. PDF

Johnson M, Toiskallio K 2007.
Community Modeling and Community-Centric Design. Mobile Content Communities: Final Report, HIIT Publications 2007-1, 30-42. PDF

Hyysalo S, Heiskanen E, Johnson M 2007. Design-use relationships in Sociotechnical Change. Guest Editors’ Introduction, Special Issue, Human Technology 3 (2), 120-126. PDF

Toiskallio K, Johnson M 2004. Mobile community - vague community: combining lived privacy and anonymous publicity within the community. 5th Wireless World Conference, July, 2004, Surrey, UK.

Pöyry P, Johnson M, Meriluoto J 2004. Managing Knowledge in Networked Product Creation Organisations. eChallenges'04, October 2004, Vienna, Austria. PDF

Nieminen M, Johnson M, Parkkinen J, Koskinen T, 2003.
Evaluation of UISB - The User Interface Specification Browser. IEA'03, August 2003, Seoul, Korea.

Nieminen M, Koskinen T, Johnson M 2003.
UISB - The User Interface Specification Browser. HCII'03, June 2003, Crete, Greece.

Nieminen M, Johnson M 2002.
State of the Art Survey - Managing Engineering Knowledge. Edited anthology report, WISE -project, February 2002. PDF

Pöyry P, Johnson M, Meriluoto J 2002. WISE Knowledge Management Terminology. Online publication at

Johnson M 2001. Towards Human-Centred Requirements Management in Distributed Design. HCII'01, New Orleans, Volume 2, pp. 642-646. PDF

Johnson M 2001.
Will Bluetooth change the Windows GUI?. IWNA '01, February 2001, Singapore, pp. 20-25. PDF
+358 400 127 232
mikael.johnson [at]
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Open Innovation House
Otaniementie 19
02150 Espoo
Postal Address
P.O. Box 15600
00076 Aalto