Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Squidoo Goes Live - Lenses, Experts and Human Touch

Seth Godin's new project, Squidoo, went live today. I could not resist and started building lenses and, 2.5 hours later, I finally realized I had not eaten breakfast. I've started four lenses. I hesitate to say "built" because I HAVE to go do client work. You have to pay for your chocolate one way or another. Ooh, I should make a chocolate lens too!

Here are the four I started. Suggestions for content welcomed. I chose the option that any funds generated by my lenses go to charity - full disclosure. I'm not in this for the money!

Here is a bit about the site, from the site (but let me tell you, because of how it is constructed, it is hard to copy stuff and share it - like the mouseovers with great one liners on the front page! Put those in the "about" section too!)

From the "About" Section
Squidoo is a co-op run on behalf of its members, the lensmasters.

We have built an online platform that makes it easy for anyone to build lenses on topics they are passionate about. These lenses help you find a unique, human perspective on things that interest you... fast. Not only can Lensmasters spread their ideas, get recognized for their expertise, and send more traffic to their Web sites and blogs—they could also earn royalties.

Once our closed beta is over, lensmaster royalties will go to the lensmaster directly, or to organizations chosen by the lensmaster, or to our charity pool. Squidoo's goal as a co-op is to pay as much money as we can to our lensmasters and to charity.
Check out the full team too. I was happy to see Heath Row in the gang.

My first impressions? If you are infoholic, addiction comes to mind. If you already manage a number of sites, finding a way to intelligently work across them will become a must. This continues on my previous theme of multimembership and is worth some more detailed exploration. For example, they have a lensmaster bookmarklet, but it is pretty heavy. I'd like a pop up that more easily allows me to put a link into an existing link list. Right now even though I try to place into the existing module, it keeps starting a new module on me. Bug or user error?

I worry about those of us who are early adopters who snatch up good lenses and then leave them fallow. It will be interesting to see if and how the Squidoo folks help us stay in the game. Those going for money might end up more motivated. I don't know. It will be interesting to track my engagement.

You can also transfer ownership of a lense. For example, I claimed the Community of Practice lense, but really, it should be run by Etienne Wenger. Would he have the time or inclination? I don't think so. It would be great though, if we could be co editors. He the brains, me the info-holic. Or the three of us working on the Technologies for Communities report co-edit that lense. You can tell I'm a communal being. What can I say. James Farmer, come set me straight!

While you are at it, check out Seth's Free eBook, Everyone is an Expert. Some other time I need to post on that word "expert." It is a "fat word" (a la Anecdote) like "facilitator," and "process!"

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