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.

 

Studio, +1

Back in March, 2011, Google trotted out its +1 button – a little widget that shows up next to your search results enabling you to “vote up” a particular result with the click. It is essentially another sharing button, but it comes with some strings – Google gains the ability to “tailor” your advertisements and results based on what you +1 (I see a new verb in the lexicon). In order to use and track them, you need to create a Google Profile, and your +1 saves will show on that profile, either publicly or privately. It isn’t a bad way to keep track of things you like, much like a Google bookmarking system, with benefits.

Now, Google is releasing the code to its +1 button and rolling the button out to major sites. Publishers can drop the code into their sites to make it even easier to mark down +1’s – if you click on a search result and view a page that you like, you can then hit the button there, instead of on the search results list. Check out the tutorial over at Mashable on how to add it to your site’s CSS / HTML editor. Or, you can do what I did on my self-hosted WordPress blog and add a plug-in that automatically adds the button to each post.

If you already have share buttons on your site, the +1 is a no-brainer. If you happen to garner a lot of +1’s, the number will show in the search results, which further impels your content in a viral direction. Like a universal recommendation icon for the Web. With these options, adding the button is easy, and encourages sharing, which, as they say, is caring. Hey – feel free to +1 this post, and click the little button at the top left!

Google Wave Extensions: 6rounds

6roundsI was going to link this comment to my original blog post on Google Wave, but I ultimately thought it best to simply copy and paste this as a new post right here for maximum visibility. From Natasha at 6rounds.com, the first video chat widget for Wave:

Hello, I saw your article on Google Wave and I wanted to introduce you to our Google Wave extension 6rounds. Google Wave has chosen 6rounds to be one of their very first 6 applications and its only video chat extension for its launch. To learn more about 6rounds platform capabilities and the Google Wave extension, you can view our press release (http://uk.prweb.com/releases/6rounds/GoogleWave/prweb2952104.htm) and check out the special page for Google Wave on 6rounds (www.6rounds.com/googlewave). I’d love to give you a deeper look into our extension and am more than happy to answer any questions you may have and elaborate on the cooperation. I also wanted to let you know that we are doing a 6 day competition for users to win 6 Google Wave invites. You can read more about it on our blog post: Google Wave invites up for grabs! (http://blog.6rounds.com/google-wave-invites-grabs/) I know that many of your readers are dying to get Google Wave invites so I hope that you will share this legitimate opportunity with the. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Natasha

Well, there you have it, Studio readers. Go check out 6rounds and maybe you could be “Waving” by next week!
If you are interested in learning more about 6rounds, and the unique features it brings to video chat, check out the articles here and here. I will be checking 6rounds out myself (independently of Wave until I can get my own invite). If you have access to the Wave / 6rounds experience, I would surely love to get some feedback in the comments below.