New Orleans Eric Lee is one of those underground labor heroes for the labor of love he does in collecting information from the internet about unions and labor issues all over the globe and putting them out from his LabourStart website. A notice he sent out today was forwarded to me by a friend, and I think Lee is right in quoting a New Zealand labor activist that this could be an exciting tool for campaigners engaging with companies, be it our India FDI Watch Campaign and efforts to engage big box retailers like Wal-Mart and others or dozens of other companies including those Community Organizations International/ACORN International is engaging around remittance overcharges. He’s talking about a silent launch so typical of the Google machine which floats trial balloons regularly to see if there is traction or someone stumbles on a way to make money. This one is called Google Sidewiki.
Basically in wiki fashion it allows any and all to comment alongside a webpage so that those connected can benefit from advice, direction, and comments of other readers of the same page, ranked by the famous Google algorithm in terms of value. The lowest hanging fruit of such a tool is simply that it allows readers of your webpage or website to make the site more interactive.
Eric put an example of how all this could be used in campaigning on the Nestle site: http://www.nestle.com. In the top left window was a small “chat” symbol. Once you have sidewiki you can click on and see that Lee had posted the following alongside the official Nestle site.
Eric Lee – Oct 31, 2009
Not the whole story about Nestle, is it?
There’s a whole other story about Nestle — how it treats it workers, how it violates labour laws and so on — here: http://www.iuf.org/nespressure/en/ Well worth checking out.
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I was interested in the fact that there is also a “report abuse” function, which is also helpful, because the downside of this great tool is that it will also encourage haterators similar to the way such folks have taken over the “comments” function on most newspaper websites, so luckily Google has given webmasters a way to keep constructive dialogue flowing while eliminating those full of too much heat and too little light.
This seems like an interesting internet organizing tool. Campaigners and organizers unite! Thanks, Google! And, thanks for the heads up, Eric!