14 Oct 2009

Stumbling Down The Information Superhighway

This post is far from timely, so you've likely already heard about and use StumbleUpon.  If you haven't: I'm about to ruin your life.
Basically, you install the plugin & configure your account to specify topics you're interested in ... Then, whenever you click the Stumble button you're whisked away to a random page on the internet that fits your configured your interests.  So, if you're like me and just checked every single box you could, then you're literally brought to a random page on the internet.  This pretty much makes StumbleUpon a power-house of a timewaster that would rival cable television, if it weren't for the fact that it's also pretty useful.

Fun For Everyone

It's always fun to find new sites, pages, and videos on the internet.  StumbleUpon is one of the easiest ways to do this - just click the Stumble button.  This system relies on all of us, though, which is why it's important to keep thumbing-up the things that you like.  If you happen to be the first person to add something to StumbleUpon, then definitely take the time to appropriately tag & quickly review it - this will help keep stumbles relevant & make sure it's likely to be displayed for other stumblers.

There's a bit of a community within StumbleUpon which, I must admit, I haven't quite taken a lot of time to check out yet.  The idea is solid, though, and it's a bit like Last.fm in its methods for connecting people in that it compares the sites & topics that people Like and then rate your similarity.  This is a great way to find out about new music, so I'm sure the theory translates to finding new websites as well.

Useful For Your Own Site

Every time you post on your own site, you should take some quick steps to properly add it to StumbleUpon's collection.  Properly Like the new page by accurately tagging it, and adding a short review - the review can be as simple as copying & pasting text from the page into the review section.  This will make sure that it's available for others to stumble upon, and hopefully Like as well.

Additionally, you should extend StumbleUpon's hit-creating ability even further by using Su.pr links wherever you share links.  Su.pr will shorten URLs so that instead of passing along a mile-long link, you pass along a link that's nice and short and even kind of fun to read.  Su.pr also tracks how many times a link is clicked, so you can see how influential you've been (stat junkies - I've just re-ruined your life).

I'm not entirely sure if it's the case, but it does seem that links with high clickthrough rates within Su.pr are more likely to be displayed to people just stumbling around the internet as well.  This seems to mean that if you're consistently providing influential links that are getting a lot of clicks, then all of your links (yep, that includes your posts too!) will also earn more stumbles.  I'm pretty sure this is a small addition to the existing stumble 'authority' which simply displayes pages that other users thumbed-up more often those those that either haven't been thumbed-up or have been thumbed down.


stumbleupon su.pr

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