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5 essential StumbleUpon power points

I really like StumbleUpon. So much so, I thought I’d make a list of 5 essential things you ought to know about StumbleUpon…

BTW, you can pay a visit to Wayne Smallman’s StumbleUpon profile »

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.

And finally…

Here’s where I invite you to add your own list of cool things about StumbleUpon…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

27 replies on “5 essential StumbleUpon power points”

This is the first blog that I’ve seen touch on Stumbleupon and I learned a lot here. I think it’s important to realize that any interaction you may have over the internet is an opportunity to express your brand.

Hi Dan, always a pleasure to read your comments.

And I’m glad I’ve given you food for thought.

Maybe you could refine my ideas on the Personal Branding aspects of StumbleUpon and flesh things out in an article of your own?

You’re the expert, here…

Hi Wayne;

I haven’t been on SU very long myself, but like you, I think it’s a great site.

Not that long ago I happened across a review which was completely unprofessional and in very bad taste.

Mind you I have no problem with anyone having a personal opinion on a given topic however, the vote down function is meant to provide an honest critique of a page and not a forum for personal attack.

I was pointed to a nice little function on the review page I hadn’t noticed previously (Helpful? yes/no) which alerts the SU team to reviews which may be inapropriate and to my surprise it’s a function that actually seems to work quite well – the offending comments have since been revoked 🙂

While SU has some nice little features, the sense of community is bigger than what I imagined it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. I think I spend more time in my SU inbox than I do stumbling pages, lol.

Anyway, nice article;

I used SU as an advertiser a few months back, and had very promising results, but I’ve never really got to grips with it properly as a ‘member’.

I must find the time to explore it some more. Your post brings up some really helpful points.

Hi Anna, the sense of community is the big sell, in my opinion.

Yeah, there’s the odd spat in the Forums from time to time, but other than that, the conversation is informative and cordial.

And you touch on a good point, in that the moderation is pretty much invisible.

Either that or I’ve just not been paying attention to things.

Hi Brian, I think I’ll have to email you about the advertising thing.

I’m aware of it, but I’ve not tried.

Glad you found the article useful…

The fact that SU are now taking paid for advertising has substantially devalued the service. It used to be a community, but it’s all gone a bit Murdoch now.

It was a nice idea, but I just don’t trust it anymore.

Also the amount of suggested pages that are an unattributed image or sound file are a big pain.

I fell old and jaded.

Hi Ruben and thanks for taking the time to comment.

I’ve not read much about the commercial aspect. So I wouldn’t know if it’s devalued StumbleUpon or not.

I’ve similarly become a little jaded with Digg, which did suffer from poor quality content for a while.

The quality of the content has risen back up, but the quality of the comments isn’t as good.

So I know just how you can fall out of love with a service like this…

Thanks for this great post. I recently got decent StumbleUpon hits and I’m looking ways to improve my design for this special traffic source. Great seeing your tips. Especially thanks for the last tip: Spamming.

I agree with these in principle except #4. I’ll vote something down because I don’t want to come across stuff like that again, it has nothing to do with what I think the rest of the community will feel about it.

Every 4th or 5th time I hit the StumbleUpon button, I’m directed to a place to anonymize my web hits. Why? Because its labeled under “internet” I have no interest in these pages, nor any want nor need to come across them again. I’m not going to take “Internet” out of my interests, because I still get plenty of sites I AM interested in reading. I’m just sick of StumbleUpon thinking I have some incredible urge to send my connections through anonymous proxies. I’ll give it a thumbsdown in hope the system realizes this at some point and stop sending me to them.

Hi and thanks for the comment.

I know exactly what you mean about the internet “anonymizer” stuff.

I don’t use the StumbleUpon button that much, but the last time I did, I certainly remember seeing such a website…

Hi Wayne,

Nice post, I’m just wonder and eager to ask about StumbleUpon. What you think which websites do better in StumbleUpon, a website which have good content or a website which have good stuff of display (images, Flash, graphics) coz, I have seen lots of reviews for arts related sites as compare to others sites.

Thanks, Ramesh

Hi Ramesh, there are a number of factors to a successful article on StumbleUpon.

To be honest, I don’t know what the most popular topic is on StumbleUpon, but I’m guessing it’s technology-related stuff.

Secondly, your own popularity on StumbleUpon can have a big impact on the success of an article submitted.

StumbleUpon is big enough to support a lot of different topics. And the only way to know for sure is to just try!

Speak soon…

Hey, thats a great post. As a new blogger myself, tips like these are fantastic. i am certainly going to be trying it out, because i need all the traffic i can get at the moment.

Keep up the great work.

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