Squidoo Sneak Peek at BlogOn Conference

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This article is by One Degree Contributor Kate Trgovac, reporting from the "BlogOn" Conference.

Seth Godin opened the morning with a presentation on social media and his new venture Squidoo.  His presentation was largely based on his new ebook "Everyone is an Expert" (links to PDF).  Seth’s thesis is that we use the web not "to search" and not "to find" but rather "to make sense".  Web 1.0 was about finding clues.  Web 2.0 is fundamentally about building a platform for meaning.
He described the three types of blogs that he sees happening in the blogosphere today:

  1. "Cat Blogs"  Blogs that are written for an individual’s friends and family. They stereotypically have pictures of cats or your weekend activities or other personal information written for a small audience.
  2. "Boss Blogs" On-command blogs.  Blogs that are written for a particular audience whose attention, by virtue of your status, you can already command. An example is the Adobe blogs for Adobe users and programmers.
  3. "Viral Blogs" These are the blogs that people find by word of mouth.  They spread and they feed on traffic.  Not generally written by a previously established expert.  Example, boing boing.

The question is, how do I get to have a Viral Blog?
His venture, Squidoo, is about making that happen and about bringing meaning into the blogosphere.  Fundamentally, Squidoo is a search and ranking algorithm that points searchers to "lenses" which are the most expert in a particular subject matter.  Squidoo is not a blog engine (though there is a content management aspect to it).  It is a lens to a blog (or to many blogs) on which the LensMaster is an expert.  It combines the best of Web 1.0 (static content, like about.com) with Web 2.0 social media (e.g. personal taxonomies, RSS aggregation).

A tool like Squidoo has some great potential.  There is a lot of content out there (more by the minute) and people will want guides (lenses) into it.  That was initially the premise behind about.com.  I’m hoping that Squidoo will be more successful. 
The technology platform (Web 2.0) and the social networks that can be built using that platform will help Squidoo offer a better experience for end-users (It is very difficult to get to the core good content on about.com; the myriad of ads, interspersed links and other irrelevant information make it practically impossible to use as a credible source).  There is also a critical mass of bloggers now who will police the content themselves, something that didn’t exist when about.com launched. 

One of the positives of Squidoo is that they allow more than one LensMaster in a field and they rely on their algorithm to bring the "best" one to the top (in a similar way that Google’s page rank algorithm works).
Squidoo moves into invite-only beta this week so we should hopefully start seeing some of the preliminary lenses.

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