This is a cool little toy (Eurekster) that I have been playing with for a few days. (Thanks for the intro from the E-volve list) . The tool is essentially a basic search engine. (I put the favorite link in my IE toolbar and click there when I am doing work related searches.) The search results seem as good as Google.
IE. "Network Advocacy" on Google = 1820
"Network Advocacy" on Eurekster = 2204
I have been playing with Eurekster a bit more and I am really digging the way that we can be aware of each others searches and favorite sites (without me knowing it is you) . Anyway, its pretty cool and I am thinking that it could be very useful for a campaign or coalition.
Step 1.- Core campaign team signs up and invite each other to join. The core team becomes a part of each others eurekster search network.
Step 2. - Everyone on the team installs the search toolbar or sets up a favorite link so the group uses the search as a primary search tool in regular work flow.
Step 3. - Members regularly watch resent sites and recent searches to see if they can help each other find key information or work together on a project.
Step 4. - Also use search as a to-do list for the day (I.E. GOTV mobilization in the Denver Area or Develop a content page on Energy Pipeline impacts).
Sounds Easy. What are the potential Payoffs?
The team gets to see recent search terms of the team with masked email links to the people who are doing these searches. The tool enables the campaign to "swarm" hot issues, the days to-dos and hot stories faster. The campaign team can sense emerging issues and needs based on what people are searching for. What would it tell you about your campaign if you saw lots of searching around a bill, article, or legislation?
Team can see the recent sites other team members are surfing (where is the team spending work related online time..have other members just been there...www.greenmediatoolshed.org, the press room of a congressional committee , the main national organization working on the campaign or a local group or blog with lots of content on a specific subject.) Eurekster starts to dynamically generate the list of repositories for work related information.
The team can see each others "top searches". This is a valuable sense of what information the network of the campaign is looking for and could identify needs. We need to do some more content on how to write a press release or a check list for lobby days, we need talking points on the wildfires, we need factiods on BLM, etc.
The team can see top sites on the issue Is it a news site or the site set up for the campaign? This can show where the top content is that the network relies on. It can also encourage members of the group to publish work that they have already developed but not shared because they don't know the value of it.
Finally, The most important features besides the "secure" shared filtered search is the social networking component. If people in your campaign have been doing searches or visiting sites a little email icon appears next to the search or site. You can't tell who was where but you now have the capacity to contact whoever was working on that site or search. THIS IS HUGE.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE IS THE EMAIL LINK "You are receiving this email from Marty on eurekster. They saw you visit 'Joshua Tree National Park (National Park Service)'. Your identity has not been revealed to Marty but it will be if you choose to reply to this email. If you would rather not be contacted like this please change your user preferences here: http://home.eurekster.com/manageaccount.htm"
This allows you to send an email to the person that spent time on the site or sent the search. A way to say "hey I can help" or "I need that too". This will help build (weak ) ties among staff that don't know each other .
Finally, this tool would help people that join a campaign in progress quickly get up to speed on the favorite sites of the campaign the searches and needs and offer them a way to plug in where there skills are. It would show what the people on the team are working on (to do searches) and an email link to help those folks connect. This is huge.
I can't wait to see some healthy campaigns play with this if each campaign of 50 added this and then were able to add volunteers and Board members ..we could see campaigns decentralize work very quickly.
(more to come) ..If you know me expect an invitation to my eurekster network.