Thursday, July 3, 2008

Moby the Giant Squid?

I don't always check my email that often, and apparently the last time I'd checked it yesterday (Wednesday 7/2) was fairly early in the morning. Otherwise I would've known about this bit of news sometime that day. But I usually check into Squidoo first thing in the morning, unless it's very early, to see how my lenses are doing. I've got 55 of them, and had reached 50, with 23 of them being Celtic Music lenses, back on May 29. Since then I slowed down, having created all the Celtic Music lenses since around mid-late April. I've done a few video showcases related to that lens group, and added a lens for The Chieftains.

Nothing jumped out at me right away when I checked this morning except I had a pending comment. I get comments now and then, but few enough that I either notice right away or tend to take a few days to notice. This one was from yesterday, though, so I hadn't missed anything. It was in my Spider Robinson lens from a woman named Robin. She's a Giant Squid Community Organizer. She was congratulating me on becoming a Giant Squid.

Huh? I hadn't nominated myself (that's allowed, btw) since passing the 50 lens mark, the minimum for Giant Squid status. I wasn't aware of anyone nominating me, either. While I do put more than minimum effort into my lenses - sometimes much more than minimum, as my Celtic Music lenses prove, I hope - I wasn't sure that I had "50 really great lenses" which is what they're looking for. Obviously the people who make decisions about who gets to be a GS thought otherwise, which is certainly nice. I should work on bringing some lenses that might be lacking up to snuff.

One thing people who take care to build lenses do is make sure they don't just use the default titles for modules. Spider's lens is one of my oldest, if not the oldest, of my lenses. So I was just a bit chagrined when I looked at the title of the guestbook module, where Robin's message was now appearing, and saw "New Guestbook" - the default title. That got changed in a hurry!

My whole Squidoo experience got going last October when Fortunalee mentioned in her Delphi Forums forum, "Fortuna's Favor," that she'd found Squidoo and had made a lens or two. I checked out her lens and Squidoo itself and decided it would be interesting to create lenses for some authors I like, starting with Spider. She kicks herself for not having referred me, since there's a little cash incentive to do so, but a person's lenses have to earn a certain amount collectively before anything gets paid, so she'd still be waiting. :) But just in case she doesn't know, I am grateful to her for bringing up Squidoo. She's also visited some of my lenses and "favorited" them, joined my fan club, etc. She's been very encouraging, and I thank her for it!

I've been reading stuff lately about how to make lenses better, and I've used some SquidUtils created by an English bloke who uses the nickname "thefluffanutta." Crazy name, but solid utilities and he puts out a lot of good advice about lensmaking. He's got a blog and I'm following him on Twitter. Just recently I read his advice about Primary Tags for lenses. He says don't use the lens title, which I had been doing. Instead, he advised coming up with a tag that will link lenses together. So I changed all my Celtic Music lens primary tags to "Celtic Music" and added the part of the lens title after "Celtic Music" as a regular tag, also part of his advice.

With 55 lenses, and counting because I'm sure I'll be adding video showcases and more Celtic music lenses, I'll be looking more into ways to get my stuff noticed. Just being a Giant Squid will help some, of course, but I know there's more I could be doing. For one thing, I'll have to update my own page letting folks know of my ascension to GS status. I'll be checking out blogs and sites available for Giant Squids and seeing where I can implement the advice on my own lenses.

This Giant Squid thing isn't going to go to my head. For one thing, all I have to do is look at how much money I've made from Squidooing since last October. Can you say "pocket change"?

Also, it occurred to me that in the ocean sperm whales and giant squids have a somewhat adversarial relationship. So there's a bit of irony in having a Giant Squid named MobyD.

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