I heart StumbleUpon
Everyone that knows me, knows how much I absolutely LOVE StumbleUpon (SU). I mentioned in my first post that I have over 50k posts/reviews on SU since June 2006. Yes, it’s a lot. I like it… a lot. 🙂
So, what is StumbleUpon? Well, it was started in November 2001 by Garret Camp and Geoff Smith as a simple Firefox add-on. It now boasts over 10 million users, is the biggest social bookmark referrer and is movin’ on up with some great new features for every browser, including mobile browsing.
The basics of SU are very simple. You install a toolbar, you select some interests and then you press the Stumble button to find “random” websites. You can then rate the site by thumbing it up or down. Thumbs up means you want to see similar stuff in your stumbles, you’re recommending it to your followers and the site is also bookmarked to your profile.
You can then share with your friends on SU, Facebook, Twitter or via email and/or write a review of the website. Reviews are a way for you share your opinion on a website and will show up on your profile (as a blog). This is the creative part of SU and where I started blogging. There are/were some beautiful blogs on SU but many stumblers have moved onto blogging elsewhere because there are some basic blogging features that are missing on SU. So I’m going to focus on the stumbling.
Exactly how stumbling actually works can get a bit complicated but the one thing you quickly learn is that your friends (followings) determine the quality of your stumbles. There is a limit of 500 followings to control the quality of the recommendations you receive. There are many different ways to stumble but I mostly prefer stumbling through my followings. If I get too many crap stumbles, I normally start unfollowing people.
So, where is the social aspect? Oh, where to start! Well, there are some lovely stories about stumblers falling in love and some amazing collaborative projects like the SOC’s Christmas Story (more here). Most of these people met through the groups of SU. They’re no longer as active as they used to be but there are other ways to get to know a person. As usual, my friend Xineann has some good advice on how to make friends on SU.
Once you begin visiting stumblers, sharing websites and chatting with fellow stumblers, it’s amazing how well you get to know each other. I’m astounded by how much you can know about a person by seeing what they thumb up, what they blog about, what they say and what they don’t say. Many of these friends have crossed over to other social networks, and they’ve all been a pleasure to know.
So that’s my little introduction to SU. There is a lot that I haven’t covered and there are many things that the “old stumblers” may want to add. I may write some more about which groups you should visit or which stumblers you should know but, for now, go try it out and let me know how it goes.