Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Squidoo Part Two

Last month I posted about a new site called "Squidoo." The basic idea of it is that users build mini-sites, called "lenses," on any topic that they are a specialist in or care about. This places the lenses mid-way between a free site-building community and a blogging community.

The design for each lens is pre-set with the Squidoo colors and branding. But the content layout is up to you, and includes easy to use modules for adding RSS feeds, links to favorite sites, and Amazon book recommendations.

When I first posted about the site, I just launched right into building a lens. Now, I've read "Everyone is an Expert" (pdf file) - an ebook by one of the Squidoo founders - and understand it a bit more. The ebook has a lot to say about how people use the web to search for things, or more accurately, according to the book, to discover meaning.

When you go to Google to look for "espresso machine," Google doesn't know if you're just curious about how they work or if you're ready to invest in a $1,400 professional coffee maker. So you click around, click back, link after link, ad after ad, as you build your knowledge of espresso machines - and, maybe, eventually buy one.

Further, the web works just like good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. You probably won't buy the first espresso machine you see in the first link you click because you haven't heard it from somebody you trust yet. But, as you click to the blogs of people who share your interests and they recommend machines, you get closer to deciding on a machine for yourself.

But blogs feature different content constantly, that's the point of updating daily. Somedays I'm here ranting about politics, other days I comment on the weather. What you think of me depends on what day you first come here.

So, a "lens." It's more static than a blog, but more flexible than set web page. It's a place to start, not to finish. Go to Squidoo and search for a topic. You see what other people have put down as the resources, links, and vital information you need to discover the meaning of your search.

As the book says, "Everyone is an Expert." What are you an expert on? Go and build a lens about your topic. I'm an expert on me.

Meanwhile, Passover/Easter are rapidly approaching. Go to your local, online Flower Shop and get something nice to bring your mother.

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