In today’s #AtoZChallenge, the letter “S” is for StumbleUpon.
“StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine) that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its features allow users to discover and rate Web pages, photos and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles.”
What does it mean? It’s a way to share and discover content, much the same way Pinterest does.
There are two paths you can take:
- Share content. If I like a particular blog on Ireland, and I want other lovers of all things Irish to see it, I’ll click on the thumbs up icon on StumbleUpon’s toolbar. When they click the StumbleUpon under that category, and based on how often it’s been recommended, that site will appear.
- Find content. I can choose several categories of interest (I currently have 24, from Bizarre/Oddities to Writing) or a specific category, and hit the StumbleUpon button. Based on other’s likes, a random page from the internet will display. I can use it for ideas (stored under the Likes button, which is another name for folder). I can thumbs up or thumbs down the page.
What I like/don’t like about StumbleUpon
- It’s randomness. I don’t have time to surf the web. StumbleUpon takes me places I’d never go.
- The ability to search for a specific category. I can pick Writing and get only writing-related pages.
- It’s slowness. It takes a few moments to load. If you’re Liking a new page to share, up to 30 seconds can pass as the whirling rainbow icon does its thing.
- Sometimes it’s not always on point. For this article I “Stumbled” a few times. I found great articles on writing, which I Pinned and will use on Facebook and Twitter, but I also found a review of a Chris Evans movie, and an article on gel pens. Not what I wanted.
- Sometimes it misses the mark and I’ll get an ad. I really don’t care what’s showing on Entertainment Tonight.
- There’s no way to search through the categories. I’m not sure how many categories StumblUpon contains, (more than 24) but there’s no way to search through them other than to swipe back and forth.
- Finding followers is a pain in the ass. In fact, I’ve given up and decided to let any growth happen organically. Other than searching your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you can’t type in an interest and find someone who shares it. You can look at a long list of photos with no descriptions and pick someone at random, hoping they share the same values, but I ain’t got time for that.
- Stumble your own blog posts, which I do. You’ll also have to stumble other content, or the company is going to catch on, and nasty things will happen. (I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I assume they want you to spread the word on more than what can bring you monetary value).
What I really think of StumbleUpon
Overall, my opinion is meh. I use it to find articles to share on my social media, and when I have time to load new content, I share what I’ve found. It’s a social media tool, but not an important one in my book.
I do receive emails telling me my Likes are being StumbledUpon. It’s nice to see my books, via my blog pages, being Stumbled, but I don’t know how that’s translating into sales.
Do you use StumbleUpon? What’s been your experience?
Monday’s AtoZChallenge will be about the letter “T”.
If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.
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*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career