Tour Du Jour: StumbleUpon

I think it is high time to revisit a web application from my very early days of poking around in web applications. StumbleUpon is and has always been one of my fav cool tools and, if nothing else, an incredibly entertaining way to spend time on the Web. If you don’t already know what StumbleUpon is, it is an online community that promotes discovery and rating of Web pages, photos, and videos. To do this, it offers, via the touch of a few buttons, the ability to secure personalized recommendations, using peer reviews and social-networking principles. In a word, its tons of fun.

Some of my early blog posts were the product of successful Stumbleupon jaunts. After setting up my profile and selecting some preferred topics of interests, I would sit at my computer, press the cute little blue and green button and be magically transported to cool pages and information I had never heard of or seen before. The more your rate the results, the better the results get. In a word, the ultimate on-line surfing engine for just about any kind of web content you can imagine.

Stumbleupon is fun, sure, but it is no slouch for professional use, if you are interested in such concepts as increasing web site traffic. I regularly get Stumblers from articles that have gotten posted up on Stumbleupon. And that is no fluke. Recent reports show that StumbleUpon  was the biggest driver of traffic among social media websites during the month of June, 2011, beating even sharing titan Facebook. And just a couple of weeks ago, Stumbleupon started making available a publishing widget for websites and blogs designed to keep readers on the site by offering curated, related article suggestions, much like Outbrain.

And today, in an effort to stay in touch with the cutting edge shiny, it has updated its iPad app with new features that reemphasize the social aspects of the site: there is now a “social bar” at the top of each stumbled page that highlights friends or other users who also liked the page, with the option to to visit their profile and connect.  If you haven’t used StumbleUpon on the iPad, you should – the device and the app are made for each other when it comes to entertaining web consumption on the ultimate consumption device.

So, let’s hear it for StumbleUpon – a great information service with social aspects and the ability to power your on-line campaigns. Oh, and a great way to blow an evening finding cool stuff.

 

Tumbl.in Twitter And Discover The Goods

I am a fan of social web discovery app StumbleUpon. I have, in fact, found some incredibly interesting and useful stuff simply by hitting the “Stumble” button in my browser. That sort of serendipitous discovery is an enjoyable alternative to my full throttle, heavy-duty research-focused method of pulling information out of the Web.

I admit it. I struggle with using Twitter as an information source. Although I have to say the Smartr iPhone app has gotten me pretty far along on the path to being a Twitter -information-aggregator convert. But I will save my love for that tool for another post.

Another tool that has gotten my attention is one that combines the gushing firehose of Twitter with the serendipitous discovery of StumbleUpon. The tool is called Tumbl.in and works much like StumbleUpon does, but for links scattered through your favorite Twitter search topics and lists. StumbleUpon users will recognize the top menu bar with buttons for retweeting, rating, saving for later or the simple Tumbl.in button that will pull you to another link. If you prefer, you can browse links from a given sub-section of your available Twitter links. Like StumbleUpon, you can select categories of interest to affect the results of the Tumbl.in randomizing button.

Tumbl.in definitely has its own niche here. And I like where it is going. If people are seriously going to employ Twitter as an information repository, then apps like Tumbl.in and Smartr that cull all but the links are a great start. Slice and dice through your Twitter stream and find the gems in record time, and leave the Foursquare checkins for the chaff pile.

If you check it out, would love to hear what you think of the service in the comments.