With more than 14 million members, StumbleUpon.com is a powerhouse of a website. One look and you will wonder why you have not stumbled across it before.
Founded in 2001, StumbleUpon has revolutionized how we search and view the Internet. The January 2009 edition of Oprah magazine calls StumbleUpon “the greatest thing ever invented. The site makes the Internet infinite in its possibilities yet totally accessible.”
Instead of using a search engine, StumbleUpon surveys each member on their likes and interests. From there, each time a member “stumbles,” (by clicking the Stumble button) a new website page is brought up that is tailored to the individual. It’s like the Bugatti of cyberspace, offering a luxurious ride to websites you would never have had the opportunity to visit if you had used a normal search engine. Not only are the results extraordinary, they are very personal and first-rate.
“StumbleUpon filters through the vast amount of information on the Web to direct stumblers to high quality websites which are relevant to their personal interests. Old or low-quality sites can be removed if their ratings become too low,” according to the website.
I found StumbleUpon exhilarating. I enjoyed the sense of community that occurs since the website uses its members’ likes and dislikes to create a fulfilling experience for each person. The format was close to that of Pandora (a free radio website) where I could “thumbs up” Web content that I liked and I could also “thumbs down” anything that rubbed me the wrong way. Flying across my keyboard, I felt like Emperor Commodus at the Colosseum.
It was simple to start. Setting up an account took, like, two seconds, then I was brought to a page where more than 500 topics and interests were listed from which I could choose. Animals, fashion, technology, health, being left-handed, commerce, babes; if it’s out there, it’s on this list. It listed all the things I’m interested in but never hear enough about over the looming noise of reality shows and celebrity gossip. Overall, I ended up picking 88 topics.
From the home page, you can decide if you want to view all kinds of media or just videos, photos or websites. I really liked this function because sometimes I just want to watch a funny motion picture instead of reading.
I also downloaded the optional StumbleUpon toolbar. I’m aware there are plenty of unnecessary toolbars out there, but I promise this one is a must. The toolbar grants the user to Stumble anywhere across the Internet without having to go back to the home page. I can quickly sign in and get started if I ever find myself bored with my usual on-line routine of checking the news, checking my e-mail, and finally checking Facebook. I can also use the toolbar to easily share web content with my friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Viewing my favorites is another feature that is helpful in case I want to revisit a site that I liked.
After indicating my interests and downloading the toolbar, I started to Stumble. The first website that popped up was a YouTube video. Now, I am always looking for cool videos to share with my friends, but I always am without a clue as to what to search for. So I’ll type in “funny” and get a thousand videos that are as funny as a bump on a log, and I’ll end up abandoning my quest completely. When I saw this video Stumble picked out for me, at first I was distraught that it looked completely homemade and predictable. I mean, it was some guy, the “Super Sprayer,” who was coating a piece of cardboard with spray paint. Fantastic, I could do that, I thought to myself. But I stayed and watched, being optimistic that StumbleUpon would live up to the talk. Then the motion picture took a turn and suddenly I was watching a guy create a masterpiece of a space-scene with planets and stars with turbo-charged skill. I was blown away and instantly used my Stumble toolbar to share it with my friend who adores space stuff.
I Stumbled again and found myself looking at a adorable picture from National Geographic of two lions playing. I’m a sucker for adorable and fuzzy things, so I gave that webpage a thumbs up. Three more Stumbles brought me to a BBC News interactive pic of the uprising in Eygpt, a blog about how humans came from apes (I disliked this because I like paleontology more than anthropology), and finally a picture/cartoon of an AT-AT and an AT-ST from “Star Wars.”
Overall, StumbleUpon.com is a great website if you find yourself searching for something new to look at or if you have a short attention span. It grants high-quality websites across a wide spectrum of topics to be at your fingertips and a tiny surprise factor, since you never know what you will StumbleUpon next.
For projects and schoolwork, it might be useful if you are in need of a topic, but the website would be ineffective for research purposes. Other than that, I would follow the “Golden Rule of Stumbling: the more you do it, the better it gets.” There’s no better way to stay informed, have fun or just mess around than by using StumbleUpon.com.
source : articles.lancasteronline.com
Submited at Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 5:00 am on Uncategorized by samantha
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