Finally, a truly positive review!
That’s right, I really like Squidoo as a single-topic platform. Squidoo is very limited in what it can do, but it does not claim to be an ongoing blog platform. Squidoo allows you to login, create a page about one topic, and move on. Want to write about a new topi? Create a new page.
This is what Squidoo wants you to do. There is no pretense at being any more than that. I am currently about half-way through creating my first Squidoo lens, and I really look forward to getting the finished product published. Because of the nature of Squidoo, I feel compelled to create something worthwhile rather than just a knock-off blog post like I might use on another reviewed site. This is a lens I intend to keep.
Why am I calling it a “lens” instead of a blog? “Lens” is the term Squidoo uses to symbolize the detail and focus you can give to your single topic. Much like an in-depth college paper, you can really dive head-first into a subject when you are liberated from the expectation of regularly updated content. So far I’ve written about 2000 words on a subject I studied in-depth seven years ago, and fell in love with, but have never really been involved with again. This is my chance to fall in love all over again, and I have.
Squidoo is NOT a platform for a blogger who wants to inject his personality into a daily opinion post. While I suppose it would be a decent platform for a well-developed argument, you will not be able to develop the cult of personality most bloggers try to cultivate. Your readers are going to be interesed in your subject, not you.
On the technical side, building a Squidoo lens is clean and simple, but somewhat limiting. On a text-heavy lens like mine, there is not much opportunity to add many images, which is unfortunate. My subject is very visually stimulating, but I can only add one small image per text block. I can add Flickr modules between text blocks, which is not as aesthetically pleasing. Not a big deal, but it would be nice to be able to add images more freely. The modularized interface works perfectly. The blocks are very fast and easy to organize.
Visually, all lenses have pretty much the same look. To borrow a Ruby on Rails saying, these constraints are liberating. Much like it’s nice to be able to write on one subject only, it feels good to be able to focus on content, knowing the reader is not expecting anything from the form. Like writing a Wikipedia entry, focusing on the facts is making me feel like a better writer.
Are you an expert on something? Squidoo allows you to express that. Doesn’t matter how minute the topic might be, if you can write one thousand words or more about the subject, check out Squidoo and let your inner writer out.