Sunday, May 10, 2009

Number 9: Mount St. Helens

IMG_0815My Squidoo lens about Mount St. Helens is ranked number 9 overall in Squidoo. That's out of close to a million lenses. At the bottom of each Squidoo member's Dashboard page, which shows statistics about the lenses that member has created, there's a list of the top 10 lenses on Squidoo. Today marks the first time the Mount St. Helens lens has made it into the top 10 and it shows up on the list.

My Celtic Music: Lenses lens was ranked number 8 for a couple of consecutive days in late March, but for some reason it never showed up on that list at the bottom on the dashboard, so getting on that list is a first-time thing for one of my lenses.

When I noticed I had the number 9 spot, I scrolled all the way down my dashboard — at 124 lenses it takes a few rolls of the mouse wheel — and confirmed its presence on the top 10 (Top 10 is at the bottom. Go figure.) I noticed something about the title of Jaguar Julie's in the number 1 spot. It had a star beside it: Stuffed Cabbage☆. It looked neat. I knew it was a Purple Star lens, one of those lenses that has been deemed one of the best on Squidoo. The Purple Star is only a few weeks old, and I was happy to get one in the first round. I'm pretty sure Julie got her star in the first round as well. I hadn't noticed the star in her title before, so I opened up the lens to see about it. It looked like it had just been put in as part of the title, not as some special award for having the number one lens on Squidoo.

Mount St. Helens and treeI decided to put a star in my title. First I had to find out the code for it. I had to search a bit because it wasn't listed on a web page I have bookmarked for its symbols and accent marks. I Googled "star symbol in html" and found a page that showed the open star like Julie's and a solid star: & #9734; and & #9733; (without the space between & and #). I edited the lens title with the code for the solid star just to be different and published the lens. The star shows up on the published lens and now in the list at the bottom of the dashboard like so: Mount St. Helens★.

Not long after publishing, I saw my email notification popup in the lower right of my computer screen. It doesn't stay long enough to really read much, but I did see "Jaguar Julie has sent you a private message." My first thought was I'd violated some protocol and the star was reserved for the number one lens. It took me a while to find the email because the popup went away before I could determine where it was from. It wasn't in any of my Squidoo folders. I was puzzled for a while, but then spotted it in my Tagfoot folder.

Whew! No protocol had been violated. Julie was happy to see my star. Turns out she'd communicated with some other Purple Star lensmasters about putting stars in lens titles, so she liked seeing the star in mine. She even thought her star looked feminine and mine masculine. I hadn't thought of it that way; I just wanted a different star.

Competition for the top spots on Squidoo is pretty fierce, so while the lens is in the top 10 today, it may not be tomorrow. It has done pretty well, though, spending the previous five days between 14 and 11 and it's been in the top 100 (58 and higher) for the past 17 days. Squidoo also has top 100 lists for about 32 categories. The Mount St. Helens lens is currently number 1 in Travel.

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