5 essential StumbleUpon power points
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 — by Wayne Smallman
I really like StumbleUpon. So much so, I thought I’d make a list of 5 essential things you ought to know about StumbleUpon…
I’ve only been on StumbleUpon since may 2007. And in that time, I’ve attracted some interesting friends and reviewed some interesting, funny, informative and sometimes amazing websites and ‘blogs.
What makes StumbleUpon unique amongst the other social bookmarking services is the extended dialogue you’re able to create out of reviewing a website or ‘blog.
By joining StumbleUpon and committing to making the effort to vote and review stuff, participate in forums and exchange personal messages with others, you’re able to do 3 amazing things: build trust, build reputation and build respect.
Yes, you can do some of that with Digg, maybe. But on StumbleUpon, there’s so much more you can do. So here’s 5 essential things you ought to know about StumbleUpon:
1. The sense of community is a real draw. There’s so many ways to connect with people, and the way in which people are matched by tastes is just great.
Not only can you just idly browse from one person to another, but you can use the People tab, or the Browse People button. And then there’s the Forums, where you’re drawn together not just by interest, but specific topics, too.
If you’re active in the Forums, then there’s added exposure to be gained. By picking Forums that either just interest you, or you’re a specialist on the topic of, you can gain some traction and become a voice of information and authority.
Don’t waste this opportunity. Go find those Forums that suite you most and join them!
2. Reviews are like a currency as well as being an endorsement. If people like you, they will Review you. So you can Review a person the same way you can Review a website or ‘blog, which involves adding some Tags.
Think of Reviews as being Testimonials, which are a brilliant endorsement, often used in the business world to great success.
If you’re found under a Tag, chances are, the person looking for stuff under that Tag will at least be interested in your stuff. If they see that you’ve got Reviews and they include that Tag and other related Tags, you’re more relevant to their needs.
Providing these personal Reviews is a sign of friendship. That’s not always the case, but in general, that’s what you’re going to see, even if it’s just a simple: “Hey, this guy rocks!!!”
If you’re going to Review anyone, do it with style and make it count. When I provide a Review, I make sure I’m actually saying something about that person. I also take a look around to see what their top Tags are, or I ask which Tags they’d like me to add into their Review.
This way, you’re adding a huge amount of specificity. And a key peripheral advantage is that if you’re providing a quality Review, you’re also saying a great deal about yourself, too. Principally, that to get your trust and respect will be paid in dividends.
3. Building trust and reputation is an integral part of the StumbleUpon experience.
Right now, I’m staying quite focused on SU’ing (voting on and StumblingUpon) websites and ‘blogs that are related to the themes of my own ‘blog. The advantage to me is that my Profile becomes a good source for strong, related content, which I’ll be linking through to my ‘blog at some point.
There does seem to be a vague correlation between the number of Fans and the number of Reviews, but this doesn’t always hold true. In some cases, the ratio is deeply skewed one way or t’other.
What is known is that those people who have hundreds of Fans are the kind of people than can bring considerable volumes of traffic to a website or ‘blog.
The reason for this is that on your personal web page, you have four tabs, the first of which is What’s New, where you’ll find what your Fans are adding Reviews and Tags to. Here’s where the influencers get their Reviews seen and than shared.
By voting on and adding Reviews and relevant Tags to the websites and ‘blogs your Fans are adding Reviews to, you engage in an indirect dialogue. You’re essentially agreeing with their choices and actively endorsing them.
But this isn’t to say you should provide positive Reviews for the sake of it. This is about respect and trust, not eliciting favour and fawning adulation.
Additionally, if you’re gunning to build and manage Personal Brand, you could do much worse than StumbleUpon.
4. Making a Vote count is what StumbleUpon is all about, and in the main, most people will either Vote thumbs up or thumbs down. Only a few will elect to add a Review, and even less will add Tags.
If you Vote a website or ‘blog down, there’s got to be a reason, so write a Review. If you’re able to articulate your reasons clearly and in an informative style, you’re doing other SU’ers a great service.
This is another essential building block of trust, reputation and respect — what you don’t like can be as important and telling as knowing what you do like.
5. Spammers beware! ‘Coz within the cogs & wheels of the ever-moving StumbleUpon machine are the hooks, snares and traps that catch the people foolish enough to try gaming the system.
If you try submitting your own content, you’ll get a surge in traffic once or twice. But after that, the traffic you get will diminish and eventually, you’ll just get nothing.
The algorithms employed by StumbleUpon are smart enough to see what’s going on and will eventually work against you.
However, none of this precludes you from SU’ing your own stuff from time to time. But if you’re posting stuff every day, you will not benefit from this practice.
Being nice and playing by the rules is much more beneficial than looking for ways to cut corners to drive traffic to your website or ‘blog.
Here’s where I invite you to add your own list of cool things about StumbleUpon…