After reading rave reviews of StumbleUpon from my fellow bloggers, I decided to check it out. I am glad I did.
StumbleUpon is essentially a channel surfing mechanism for your computer (similar to Tivo in many regards). You sign up for your interests by checking relevant boxes in categories like health, entertainment, news, and others, and download a StumbleUpon toolbar for your internet browser.
StumbleUpon is also an important tool for nonprofit organizations because it helps drive traffic to your foundation’s homepage.
How To Use StumbleUpon
On the far lefthand side of your screen at the top of your browser is a “Stumble” button. Click it and it will take you to a website that it thinks you like based on your preferences inputted.
Next to the Stumble button are thumbs up and thumbs down symbols, which you click on to help StumbleUpon refine your preferences to improve its future recommendations.
You can click on the speech bubble to read reviews of the webpage by other StumbleUpon users and to write your own. If you are the first one to rate the site, you have “discovered” it and your profile will be attached to the review page every time someone views it.
The more times someone clicks the StumbleUpon icon or writes a review of your homepage, the more web traffic will be driven your way.
(Note that this screenshot is an older one. Your newly downloaded version will be more advanced with better one-touch option capabilities.)
StumbleUpon is User Friendly & Easy to Set Up
You can also use StumbleUpon to connect with other users who share your interests. Doing so enhances your use of StumbleUpon as a social media tool to promote yourself or your organization. Deepening your involvement in this way is also much more energy and time intensive.
I am a big fan of simple, user friendly web tools. I understand how to use the web and am becoming more adept at its complexities with deeper study, but my favorite tools are the ones that keep it basic.
When you use StumbleUpon you do not need to enter search criteria, you do not expend any effort except establishing your interests, using the Stumble button, and the thumbs up or thumbs down keys. You are relinquishing yourself to the universe and saying, “Show me what you’ve got.”
I like that StumbleUpon does exactly what it says it will and asks barely anything of me. I am using it, it is not using me.
When I signed up for StumbleUpon, I was asked only to provide a user name and e-mail address. They generated an password for me that they sent to my e-mail. It’s really so easy.
In addition, as soon as I signed up, I came to a screen saying, ‘These are other users near you.’ Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey were listed with profiles and interests. I’m not sure it serves a purpose, but it felt like a complimentary gift: a mint on my pillow.
The website StumbleUpon brings me to are directly aligned with my interests. In over 100 stumbles, I have not gotten a single junk or spam website. Moreover, it directs me to sites that are fun and interesting, but that I would never have found myself.
I recently came across a website that I thought might be of interest and am showing it to you as a demonstration of StumbleUpon’s prowess.
Maps of War provides An Imperial History of the Middle East with the subheading, “Who has conquered the Middle East over the course of world events? See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds.” And that is exactly what it is: an animated map-based timeline showing the territories of empires over the years.
Other interesting maps include:
- “History of Religion: How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries?”
- “Leadership and War: Which presidents have lead the United States into Its Deadliest Wars?”
- Shiite versus Sunni: the widening of Iraq’s sectarian divide
I cite this example because it is interesting and relevant. I had not realized the vast landmasses those ancient empires possessed. This quick visual, which took only a moment to load, enhanced my understanding of history, and took very little time out of my day.
Getting Started: Words of Encouragement
Problogger’s Darren Rowse takes StumbleUpon to the next level and tells you how to “Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign for Your Blog.”
This is an easy and simple starting place for those interested in learning how to use StumbleUpon to promote your foundation’s website.
Here is my StumbleUpon profile as an example. Feel free to friend me so we can get to know each other better.
Conclusion: Why I Recommend StumbleUpon
I recommend StumbleUpon for its quick and easy usage. It requires almost no set up for a new user and executes its intentions with exactitude. Moreover, it is fun, useful, and offers a quick nugget of entertainment for a low point in the day.
StumbleUpon drives traffic to your blog and helps users happen upon it who might otherwise not know about your organization’s important work.
Do you have recommendations or tips on how to use StumbleUpon or another web tool? I would love to hear them.
If you liked this entry, you might also enjoy:
- “Caused-Based Viral Marketing: How Your Nonprofit Can Maximize Social Networking Tools”
- “3 Common Mistakes in Using Listservs: Maximizing Time, Value & Energy Among Users”
- “Trends in Philanthropy: Predicting the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising”