Seth Godin is a marketing expert who has been referred to here a couple of times, most recently in relation to his free ebook Who's There?. Now Publishers Lunch has alerted me to the fact that he is involved in a new enterprise known as Squidoo.
You can go take a look at Squidoo in a moment. But you will find that it is still in the beta stage, and frankly it is not all as clear as it might be. But basically the idea seems to be that Squidoo provides a basic framework which can be used by absolutely anyone to produce a web page about almost anything. So, for instance, if you are an expert on black and white fine-art photography, or on teaching kids how to play the violin, and if you know about lots of useful sources of info on the web, you can put that knowledge all on to one page (of flexible length), complete with links to various other sources of information.
Hmm, I can hear you thinking. Sounds like a lot of work, but where's the benefit? Well, the theory, at least, is that it has commercial uses. In book world terms, for instance, any publisher or author could use it to plug a book, or series of books. According to Publishers Lunch, which is better informed on all this than I am, 'it's a free and simple way to provide essential information about any book, author, or topic addressed by an author with expertise, to help spread word-of-mouth and sell books online.'
In Squidoo, each page is called a lens, because it focuses information. The people who create the pages are lensmasters. And 'lensmasters are individuals with strong personal agendas, expertise, causes, products and even opinions. They are not employed or directed by a corporation. Lensmasters build their lenses for fun, or for ego, or to drive traffic to their corporate sites or their blogs. Lensmasters build lenses to raise money for charity or to earn royalty checks for themselves.'
Squidoo is certainly worth a look, and worth thinking about. It's taken me a good hour or more to make much sense of it, and the very best place to start, if you have the time, is with a free ebook, described as the book which started it all off. That is the best way to get the flavour of the thing.
You could then go to the Squidoo home page, which will make a lot more sense after the ebook than it will otherwise.
I think we're going to have to watch Squidoo, which, as I say, is still in beta. It may turn out to be a bit like Rightscenter, which started out full of promise but didn't live up to it, and now seems to have metamorphosed into something a bit different. Or it may turn out to be huge, like Google.