laborgeek is powered by the wonderful WordPress.org – the freeest and easiest self-hosted blogging system out there. WordPress is truly a wonder of the WWW, but it’s managed to get as excellent as it is by bringing in the talents of its own open source community to extend its functionality with thousands of plugins. laborgeek makes heavy use of one of these, Charles Johnson‘s Feedwordpress, which is a simple to run, but very flexible feed aggregator tool.
A feed aggregator mashes together RSS feeds from different sources to make one view of all the content. As the world and his dog now have RSS, this means you can scoop in neat-o content from all over the place – in this case blog feeds (some treated through feedburner.com), del.icio.us bookmarks, and Google news searches. The result is a reading list which is part edited roundup, part trusted syndication, and part refresh-it-and-hope automation.
I happen to think this is a technology which will suit unions down to the ground, particularly internationally. Picture a GUF (Global Union Federation), wanting to build a reputation worldwide for working with a particular multinational employer. An aggregator like this lets them throw together a portal that will be of interest to employees and commentators on that company – presenting the union as a natural place for informed discussion of the company (and building them a nice comms channel to a very relevant audience), all on a miniscule set up and maintain budget. To do this, they scoop from a couple of union bloggers, official or grassroots, who are dealing with the company in different countries, that part of their own press release feed which mentions the company, and those of some of their affiliates, a central editorial blog for the portal, shared social bookmarks and keyworded business news. Everyone wins – the union participants are linked together and get more traffic, and the GUF is fulfilling its role as enabler and facilitator for unions in a very C21 way.
Anyway, laborgeek also uses Matthew Robinson’s great Subscribe2 plugin for WordPress, enabling email subscription.
Thanks also to everyone who lets their content be scraped up for this experiment, and who actively contributes to the list by posting del.icio.us bookmarks of interest.