How many times a day do you use a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo to find something online? Once a day? Twice? Every hour? We all rely on searches so often that these browsers are likely to be the default homepages for most of us. They’re the quickest way to find provincial website information, a local Guiding Unit, or a craft idea for programming. The only downside, of course, is the number of results returned. Sometimes the amount of time required to sift through the results makes the initial task not even worth it. Worse still is that some results return inappropriate content, since the search for ‘Girl’ + ‘Guide’ means very different things to people who are using these same terms online in order to describe their own (offensive) content.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Google search engine specifically for Guiding? We could call it G(uide)oogle! It would assist you in locating Guiding resources on the web. I imagine many of you crafty girls and women could even submit amazing G(uide)oogle (Gui)Doodles to celebrate Guiding’s special days!
This type of resource technically already exists, albeit not as a search engine, but as a bookmarking (or ‘favourites’) sharing platform. Using online bookmarking sites like Delicious, StumbleUpon or MisterWong, our ‘human powered’ search engine could return results that were 10x more likely to be ‘just what I was looking for’ compared to a standard browser search.
Currently, Girl Guides of Canada uses Delicious to store and share great resource for Guiding songs, crafts and Unit blogs that we come across. The beauty of using a bookmarking platform to search the web is that it cuts out all the unrelated garble associated with your searchable terms. Searching ‘cookies’ through a Guiding bookmarking account would actually return items in context to Guiding, such as: ‘girl guide cookies’, ‘cookie recipes’, ‘cookie selling tips’ and the like.
There is only one small difference between searching through a bookmarking account and using a search engine. With bookmarks, you would be searching through keywords, also known as tags. These are single pieces of information assigned by the information gatherer (in this case, our team at Girl Guides of Canada), so that other people looking through our bookmarks could drill down to the content they were looking for easily. For example, we’ve tagged some of our bookmarked sites with the combined words ‘Unitblog’, to make it simple for others to identify what the site was about.
If we collected and shared the known Girl Guiding resources available online, including Guider and girl blogs, programming resources, groups and websites, we’d be creating a one-stop shop for all things searchable about Guiding. Now that’s the power of an online collaborative network!
By Talya, GGC staff
This is part six of an ongoing GirlGuidesCANblog series to provide GGC Members, volunteers, and parents with a better understanding of social media issues and best practices.
Part 1: GGC’s online strategy
Part 2: Girl Guides Online…Now and Forever
Part 3: Guiding Principles for Facebook
Part 4: Pictures Say a Thousand Words… and Then Some
Part 5: Girl Guide Tweets and Tweeps
Part 6: Guiding Online Searches
What are some of your favourite resources online? Let’s get this GUideoogle started, now!