My Experience Building a Squidoo Lens

Over the past six months I have been developing two lenses on Squidoo.  Both of these lenses were corporate in nature, evangelizing the mission of my current job.  I found the experience of creating a lens to be very cool.  There are an infinite number of ways that you can group content together in various ways to educate readers on a particular subject area.  Squidoo makes it easy to link in content from YouTube, SlideShare, Delicious, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr and Amazon.com.  However, I significantly underestimated the amount of time and effort required to develop a lens.  In this post I outlined some of the aspects of Squidoo I liked the most.  In a future post, I will offer some opinions on what could be improved.

What is Squidoo?

If you are unfamiliar with Squidoo I recommend starting with Seth Godin’s e-Book entitled Everyone is an Expert (On Something).  It is a quick and easy read, which explains the philosophy behind Squidoo.  Furthermore it offers advice to beginners on what content to publish in a lens and why.  Here are four quotations from the e-Book, which I think explain the concept of a Squidoo lens.

  • “An online lens is a page that highlights one person’s view of the Web”
  • “A lens quickly answers the question ‘What do I need to know’?”
  • “A lensmaster users the tools available online to provide links, feeds, abstracts and lists to users who are trying to make sense or a topic.”
  • “Squidoo lets lensmasters build lenses quickly.  Then it connects those lenses to…a search engine to make it easy for any web surfer to find…”

squidoo

Things I liked Best about Squidoo

  • Easy to Create Lots of Content – Squidoo makes it easy to quickly generate a substantial amount of content by allowing for links to external web sites.  For example, you can start by linking to content you already have.  Squidoo has modules which allow you to embed links to your recent blog posts; comments from Twitter; social bookmarks you tagged on deli.cio.us; videos you published to YouTube; presentations uploaded to SlideShare and recommended reading lists on Amazon.com. 
  • Fun and Interactive Content – Squidoo makes it easy to create content which is both fun and interactive.  There are modules that allow users to vote on a list of items.  You can create polls to survey visitors on a particular topic.  Even more fun, you can post a prediction and allow others to comment on it.  Or more directly you can host a “Duel,” which is an online debate on a controversial topic.  When I post predictions or opinions on my blogs in the future, I will host a duel on my lens to allow for an alternate channel of  discussion.  Visitors can sign rate your lens with 1 to 5 stars and sign your guestbook with comments.

Here are the links to the lenses:

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