This is part of a series of articles on Utilizing the Internet with Web2.0 communities.
Channel surf the internet with the StumbleUpon toolbar to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests–I use to find homeschool sites, Bible studies, and web design. You can use it to find things you that meet your interests.
StumbleUpon learns what you like and makes better recommendations. Over 2 million people have installed stumbleupon.com toolbars on their computers. Whenever they have free time, they click on the “stumble” button on their browser’s toolbar and stumbleupon.com will take them to a random website based on their preferences (homeschooling, politics, web2.0, etc).
The Toolbar and Voting
Once you install the toolbar (very easy) you tell Stumbleupon what your interests are and then you can click on the green button to find a new site. You have the option of voting (thumbs up or thumbs down) on whether you like that website or not and, based on those ratings, stumbleupon.com shows you similar websites. The more people who give a positive vote to a particular website, the more StumbleUpon users will get to see it. Real people vote–not a Goggle robot spider.
Every time you hit the Stumble button on the toolbar a new page will appear based on your interests! You can also narrow the results by choosing a topic from your toolbar dropdown list.
By default Stumble upon will only go to your favorite topics. But if you get tired of favorite random topics you can tune in to one topic as showing here I choose only to view homeschool.
Is This Social Bookmarking?
StumbleUpon sounds like a social bookmark site (like Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit–I’ll be explaining social bookmarking and how homeschools in another post on this blog). The difference is in the random stumbling.
You can add friends – the concept of friends is that when you stumble upon stories, your friends will also see them. StumbleUpon lets you add up to 200 friends. You can browse the People section to find others interested in your topics. Check out their favorite pages, view their tags, etc.
You can join communities – there are communities within StumbleUpon where people with common interests such as “Apple” or “Web 2.0” hang out. Join the communities that you are interested in so that when you stumble, web pages that will interest you appear. Who knows, maybe we’ll start a Heart of Wisdom community (any volunteers?)
How I Use StumpleUpon
I use StumbleUpon frequently. I have it installed on my office computer and my laptop. I “stumble” while waiting for an upload, download, or when I’m just feeling burnt out and need a break. It may seem counterproductive to use the web for random navigation, but think of it like TV channel surfing to assess and determine if the channel is worth watching. Plus it is relaxing, fun and exposes me to content I’d never see on my own.
These are the recommendations in tag cloud format Stumbleupon made for me based on pages I browse.
blog-memes-list · blogs · christian-blogging · christianity · desktop-publishing · education · firefox · homemaking · · homeschooling · internet · internet-tools · parenting · philosophy · research · stumbleupon · video · web-design · web2.0 writing ·
How You Can Get Stumbleupon
You can get started by installing the free toolbar, which is compatible with I.E. and Firefox at Stumble Upon’s website.
You Can Help Heart of Wisdom
If you like StumbleUpon and HOW, stop by Heartofwisdom.com and give us a thumbs up. I would greatly appreciate your help.