I’ve written before about the problems with Facebook: it violates your privacy, it mines data for advertisers and it spams you with requests to play Farmville.
Yet many trade unionists, myself included, use it for organising. Despite it’s flaws, it has its uses, because there are so many people there, and it is really easy to share things.
But we do need an alternative that is more union friendly. For sometime I have been using Unionbook, a social network for trade union activists run on Elgg software. I’ve found it quite useful – I have managed to interact with a number of activists around the world, who have been able to provide me with information and help me with projects.
But Unionbook was never as easy to use as Facebook, and although it grew to about 5,000 members, it never really developed a dynamic community.
Unionbook has now been relaunched using Ning – software that allows you to build your own social network for a fairly reasonable fee. I’ve used Ning before to create social networks. It’s very easy to use, and in no time you get a vibrant community up and running.
The new look Unionbook is only about a week old, but already it seems like a more vibrant and interesting place than the old one. It’s easy to share pictures and video, chat, create groups, or embed apps like Qik that allow you to stream video from your phone, or Tokbox to organise a video conference.
I’d encourage you to join Unionbook today – I think it’s going to grow into a really useful resource for union activists wanting to build global solidarity networks.
Well done to Eric Lee and LabourStart for creating it.