Some time back I wrote about some advanced reasons you might want to use StumbleUpon, but I neglected to cover the basics. I consider it to be a social network/bookmarking hybrid.
According to the site: “StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 8 million other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like automatically shares them with like-minded people and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.”
Signing up is very easy, and the main thing you need to do is pick topics that you are interested in out of a list of categories. There are almost 9 million members using StumbleUpon; It is very popular.
Once you click “Stumble,” the site will take you to different websites based on your preferences and categories. The interest options are wide-ranging: animals, business, gadgets, online games, arts, graphic designs, books, humor, cartoons, and many more.
I use the StumbleUpon toolbar which allows me to stumble anywhere on the web. I can simply click a button in my browser tools to mark sites that I like or dislike, rating them and commenting on them. I can then share them with people in my network. You can also go to your friend’s profile, and stumble upon their favorites to see what they enjoy.
When you create a profile, you can upload an avatar and leave information about yourself. Also, if you are having troubles with other members of the site, you can ignore them using a button on their profile. This allows the ignored member to not be able to message you. It also makes comments on blogs disappear along with forum posts. Another interesting feature is the ability to change the language of the website if you are proficient in another language, making it simpler to use the site.
StumbleUpon doesn’t share any of your information with other sites; but maintains your privacy. If you are worried about viewing inappropriate websites, you can apply a mature filter to generate more appropriate sites.
I know many small business owners who are receiving a fair amount of new traffic to their website simply by using StumbleUpon on a regular basis to list sites they like, and to occasionally list their own sites and blog posts (but don’t do that too often or you’ll get a bad rep).