How Good is StumbleUpon – Summer Writing no 2.

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Summer Writing, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Over the Australian summer holidays, I’ll change tack a little and look to write more often and more broadly. Normal blogging transmissions will resume late January/early Feb next year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these posts.

How good is StumbleUpon?!

Dice five

I’ve got WordPress to thank for this. Doing my usual look around the workings (read “Dashboard operating system”) I came across some of the extra ways of having readers ‘respond’ to one’s writing. I’d noticed the StumbleUpon button but had no idea what this actually entailed. So, having come to the end of a school term, I decided to do some investigating.

Why is it good? Well, simply, I keep coming across items that I like (hence StumbleUpon). This comes from selecting a number of Interests at the outset and then, as the site says “We take in a lot of different signals to ensure we are showing you the best stuff on the Internet. You can make sure you are getting the best recommendations by Liking and Disliking web pages we show you, following other members whose Likes you find interesting, and following to a variety of Interests. This all helps us personalize your Stumbles so we can show you the best of the Web.”. I’m not sure how this works, or, in the scheme of things, how accurate this even is. All I know is that I have “liked” quite a few things and “not liked” only a couple, hopefully allowing some hidden algorithm to feed me more of the content that I find most stimulating, striking and useful. What I do know is that I have unwittingly posted to Facebook a couple of times – mind you, broadcasting some of the top info about the best Sci-Fi books of all time is probably a half-decent thing.

The other way that StumbleUpon grabs me is via the ability to list items. Below is a screen shot from my iPad of how my lists look.

My Stumble Lists

My Stumble Lists

For me, the boon here is the ability to press a button and have it “saved for later”. So, for items of interest, ideas and even examples to use in teaching, I have a kind of repository to draw upon. I think that the ability to Follow like-minded Stumblers would also prove rewarding – something I have yet to master.
I also have a Pinterest account, but have not done a lot of searching with this tool. I think the difference for me is how the “stumbles” come to the viewer one-at-a-time. This means you have a moment to assess whether you wish to view the item (especially with its preview ability) before selecting or discarding it. There are still a lot of stumbles which are just that, stumbles – items which have little merit for me. However, I think this is also a good thing. As an imperfect process, you are more likely to find that gem and decide that it is something worth treasuring.
I can highly recommend StumbleUpon to anyone who has yet to have a look – assuming I am not the last person to catch on, that is!
Any stumble fine-tuning suggestions or other ideas about its features would be happily accepted!

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Comments
  1. Thanks for your post Clive. Yes StumbleUpon seems to be quite grand. Take this as my first StumbleUpon about StumbleUpon! My problem is choosing one of these equivalent sites for amalgamating allt his content. i have enjoyed Zite and flipboard as two examples that can personalise content and others that also pull together your favourites and reads you want to go back to. Now the challenge to get it right and choose the one that suits me best!

  2. cgparkin says:

    Absolutely Rolfe! I’ve used/use Flipboard, Instapaper, Pinterest (sparingly) and feel like the ability to aggregate all these streams is becoming the next big “thing”. I’m not sure diigo and Evernote are the right way to go in this… more searching, discovery and trialling to go!!

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