DazzlinDonna finally digs the whole Community thing

by Donna Fontenot October 27th, 2005 

For the past year or so, I have skimmed over the numerous discussions based around building communities, using such sites as del.icio.us, flicker, etc. I skimmed because I was never really interested. Sure, I understand the concepts and the benefits, but I just did not really care. Frankly, the idea of del.icio.us was a bit intriguing, but it never really captured my attention because of a couple of things. One, I could never remember how to spell the dang thing (where to put the dots), and two, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing to me. Too plain, ya know? Flicker is cool, but it never filled any kind of actual need of mine.

Yesterday, I discovered a new site (in beta) called Kaboodle. The name comes from "the whole Kit and Caboodle". Catchy name, and one I don't have to think how to spell. 1 point. It also ended up filling a need for me that has been frustrating me for a couple of months (more on that later). Mega points for that one. And finally, the look and feel is one that makes it a site that is easy and attractive for me to use. Score more points.

So, what is Kaboodle?

  • Kaboodle is the easiest way to get all your choices on one page.
  • Create Kaboodle pages to help you comparison shop, plan vacations, make your top 10 lists, or just organize your research.
  • Kaboodle pages can be private or social. Share your wisdom. Let others help you decide.

From their about us page, Kaboodle was founded by three guys with the same frustration: shopping across many sites is hard. Even a simple thing like planning a trip or where to eat can get messy. Every little research project on the web turns into a process of cutting and pasting into emails, word documents and spreadsheets. Sharing information is even harder: email a few comments, later find new related online information, email with more comments, and finally end up with several pieces and parts that are difficult to put together in a simple concise view.

and also:

  • Capture anything you find on the web with one click
  • Our powerful information extraction technology summarizes the page for you
  • Your information is organized on a single Kaboodle page that is easy to share
  • Every item on the page allows for easy ranking, rating, and comments

Ok, enough of the hype and definitions. What did Kaboodle do for me? I have been planning a vacation to Gatlinburg, TN for the last couple of months. Have you ever tried to find a cabin to rent there? There are at least a billion choices (ok, slight exaggeration, but only slightly). I've been overwhelmed with the choices, and have tried desperately to keep track of the ones I liked via bookmarks, but it's all become an ugly mess. And then, trying to show my choices to the person traveling with me has been a major pain in the er, um, kaboodle.

Ok, so now, I have this one little Kaboodle button on my bookmarks toolbar. When I find a cabin I like, I press the button, and it magically adds it to my page – complete with a summary that it creates (and which I can change if I want to, but haven't needed to yet) as well as a thumbnail image of the cabin. My fellow traveler can add to the page, edit it, comment on a cabin, vote for a cabin, etc. Together, we can narrow down the choices with ease, and hopefully, finally make a decision. I can also open the page up to the public, if I want comments and votes from others who have already stayed in those cabins. Way cool.

I like using my old-fashioned browser bookmarks for the things I go to all the time. But so often, I do research (shopping, usually) and I end up bookmarking sites that should be short-term bookmarks, but they end up cluttering my bookmarks forever. I see Kaboodle as being the perfect way for me to manage temporary research-related bookmarks. And the fact that all the other goodies are included as well (nice thumbnails, ability for others to share, etc) is gravy on top.

So, finally, I've jumped on the community buzz bandwagon, because finally it fills a need for me!

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