The internet has loads of resources for labor activits, but the chaos of the net sometimes makes specific information hard to find. Try Googling “union.” You get 507 million hits. It’s enough to make you want to watch TV.
Lately people (including union activists) have been using a new tool called “social bookmarking” to identify and share useful websites. One of the most popular social bookmarking services is called Delicious, and it’s free. (The url for the site is http://del.icio.us).
Del.icio.us and other social bookmarking services allow registered users to save links to websites in an online library. It’s exactly like the Favorites list or Bookmarks folder on your web browser, but stored remotely so you can find it even if you use different computers (as long as all your computers are connected to the internet).
When you save a link, del.icio.us allows you to describe the link with keywords, or “tags.” You can use as many tags as you like, and the service keeps track of all your tags so you can search your library. The service also lets you know how other people are tagging a particular link. You can search the entire del.icio.us link library on specific “tags” to see what other people with similar interests are looking at, and you can make combined searches by using a ‘plus’ sign between tags. For instance, to find labor union sites, search “labor + union,” or “labor + union + blog” (If you only look for “labor” you get lots of sites about pregnancy).
Just imagine if thousands of union activists used del.icio.us and tagged every useful site “labor” and “union.” Very soon we would have a good index of labor online. So go to it! I’m not the first or only person down this trail. The folks at Communicate or Die suggested a “labortech” tag a while ago (there are 72 sites tagged “labortech” on del.icio.us, compared with over 600 links using labor + union and 61 links for labor + union + blog).
You can do similar tagging with the image hosting site Flickr (http://www.flickr.com). Both Flickr and Delicious were recently purchased by Yahoo!
A word of caution, your del.icio.us library is completely public and visible to all other users of the service. This is a service that only works by sharing information freely. So use it with that in mind.