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Lenses, modules, links - that is essentially what Squidoo.com can be boiled down to. Today we'll be taking a look at a new direction for Social networking known as Squidoo. Much like Twitter, Squidoo takes an existing part of sites like Facebook and Myspace and expands upon it to create a brand new social networking phenomenon - what they hope will be the next big thing.
So, let's get down to the basics. What exactly is Squidoo? It's a social networking site, but only in the most basic terms. You create a page, post a picture, etc. However, where Squidoo really shines is in it's ability to expand on the "Share a Link" option found on your average Facebook page. Squidoo employs pages called lenses - these are pages that you create and post a lot of links on a particular subject. For instance, I could create a lens about "Greatest Action Movies" - and not that this is indicative of what I really think, but let's say that on that page, I provide a link to some Steven Seagal movie on IMDB.com. Now, a person looking up action movies (really hoping to find an actor he's been looking for) can go on my lens and find the link that leads to the Seagal page on IMDB.
This is a pioneering concept in website searching that companies like Google have been trying to successfully employ for years. Searches today are based on keywords that are linked to certain pages - rather than having to dig through multiple websites to find the information, you use the same principle the human brain uses to find linked information - parallel processing. By looking up "Action Movies" on Google, there is no way you'll find a recognizeable picture of Steven Seagal anywhere on the first page - on Squidoo, you can let your search focus as you narrow down specifically what you're looking for.
This is how lensing works on Squidoo. A search for a specific kitchen utensil who's name you don't know gets focused down further and further as you link from lens to lens. Each page offers human insight in the picking of the links or in the information written - so Squidoo essentially creates a human network for information sharing.
In this sense, Squidoo is a marvel - my own search attempts on the website were faster than searching on a crawler by a factor of about 10. However, other parts of the site don't work nearly as well. First of all, posting links to share with others is great, but their system for posting notes and messages is archaic compared to the versatility you'll find on Facebook or Myspace. If your game is sharing messages and notes with friends, you're better off looking elsewhere.
Much like Twitter, it remains to be seen whether or not Squidoo has the fortitude to make it past the initial stages. While the site's "About Me" section decrees that it has more than 700,000 pages, that pales in comparison to the numbers on other networking sites.
So try out Squidoo if you like - after all, like all these other networks it's completely free.