I’ve been meaning to blog this for weeks: Stumbleupon. Sign up, add a toolbar to your browser (not Safari or Explorer for Macs; use Firefox or Mozilla instead) and click a thumbs up when you like a website. It’ll store the bookmark. Add a comment if you like. It’ll generate a blog for you, consisting of all your comments on websites you find, and it’ll collate the comments in connection with the site you commented on, so you can see other people’s comments too. Cooler: click the Stumble button on your new toolbar and you’ll arrive at a random site that people who liked the sites you liked liked. Dig deeper if you want and manually add people to your social network: friends or just people who’ve liked a lot of the same sites as you like. Join groups according to your interest, and get sites related to the groups. I suspect there’s more too, that I haven’t even discovered yet. I’m only just starting to use this.

But I love being able to click Stumble now and then. A lot of the sites I Stumbleupon are just the sort of sites I like.

This is the first time I’ve seen social networks used as a non-obtrusive foundation for something I want to do anyway. Friendster and Orkut and the rest just do the social network but it’s not for anything, you just collect friends, that’s all. Flickr lets you do something: share and discuss photos, using social networking as a basis. That’s cool, and is great for photoaddicts, but I don’t really have great unfulfilled photosharing needs. I do enjoy finding cool stuff on the web. Stumbleupon nicely does what I already do only better. And more socially. I love that.

My Stumbleupon name is Jill (fancy that) so my profile is at http://jill.stumbleupon.com/.

9 thoughts on “stumbleupon

  1. ghani

    This site is great, Jill! I use something similar, Furl.net, which allows you to centrally store bookmarks, categorize them, share them, etc. Stumbleupon seems to be more social/accidental than Furl, but they’re both very useful.

  2. alek

    hi, the stumbleupon is surely interesting, but your social networks argument does not work for me. as a social network tool, the stumbling engine itself is not one. and the ‘dig deeper’ and start networking aspect is not the foundation for stumbling – its vice versa. the voting mechanism provides data to establish the networks. and they remain unobtrusive as long as you dont start digging deeper and making them explicit by acknowledging their existence.
    social networking suites seem to be getting easier and easier to attach to anything. and the data is there online, collecting as i type. but do you really have time to form groups with people that dig stumbling upon same pages????

  3. fivecats

    I tend to agree with Alek. The foundation of Friendster and Okrut is the social networking (after all, you have to be invited in before you can join). StumbleUpon is free and open to all and can be used without any social interaction at all.

    Then again, a friend of mine just started blogging. In one of his first entries he said:

    “So, why did I set up a LiveJournal account? I have no idea? But, I was having fun using stumbleupon for finding new links. I was doing stripped-down blogging there (mostly just commenting on sites), so I asked myself, “Why not set up a LiveJournal account as well?” Anyway, stumbleupon has turned out to be a fun waste of time.” (http://www.livejournal.com/users/zombiefodder/594.html)

  4. mike

    I disagree with what you think Friendster is for. I have known people to hire, get hired, date, sell to, buy from, interview, and be interviewed, thru making connections thru Friendster. These are connections that have been important because of the friend-of-a-friend connection, which is much different than random craigslist connections.

    I think that people who are not getting social networking sites aren’t thinking about it in the right way. It’s not what you *do* on them, it’s what value they can bring to your *real world* life.

  5. Tim

    Stumbleupon is Collaborative Filtering rather than Social Networking. There is a Social Networking aspect, but it’s not what’s driving things.

  6. creativity/machine

    I’m lovin’ the art at Lope, found using stumbleupon, which is my new favourite websurfing tool, and the only kind of social networking technology I’m interested in using. Found that via Jill Walker….

  7. Earth Wide Moth

    Thursday: Bevy o’ Links
    Why do they call it March Madness?  Well, here’s a traditional-historical explanation.  For me, 1.) it’s March, and 2.) I’m mad because CBS’ eye just blinked over to St. Joseph’s-Wake Forest, abandoning the better game in Phoenix where the go…

  8. Chris

    Stumbleupon is an interesting concept that is unfortunately not working out too well.

    There are two ways to use stumbleupon: the stumble button on its toolbar, or to browse individual “blogs”, such as your http://jill.stumbleupon.com/.

    The stumble button supposedly brings you interesting sites because someone actually looked at the site and decided that the site was interesting. Unfortunately there is a huge incentive amoung their users to mark sites as your original finding that most of the sites presented to you from that button is actually junk.

    The other mode, browsing individual blogs, is actually more interesting. But you have to know these individual blogs in the first place. The problem is that most of these “blogs” are just pages after pages of pictures that do not make a point in and of themselves. Some of these are not even eye candies but hardcore porn.

    They also have quite a collection of rightwinger blogs. Their owner geoff actually goes around and shut down the lefties. There was a recent controversy regarding a satire blog http://reoublicans.stumbleupon.com, which got shut down once. The account doesn’t seem active anymore. Apparently SU take that kind of jokes very personally.

    Their top stumblers http://www.stumbleupon.com/topstumblers.php are pretty good. In particular, I like http://wiggy.stumbleupon.com/ and http://skykam.stumbleupon.com/ very much.

  9. Chris

    Sorry, typo. It’s http://republicans.stumbleupon.com, not http://reoublicans.stumbleupon.com,

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