Tag Archives: social bookmarking

So Stumble if you’re bored.

24 Sep

The term to “stumble” or “stumbling” is not anymore limited to the act of tripping and almost falling. It is now an online jargon, a term which describes the act of jumping from one randomly generated site to another based on topic preferences that you have pre-selected.

The term stumbling comes from the name of a discovery engine named StumbleUpon. The application is free to download. You just have to register at their site. No payments needed, just your e-mail to verify that you are an existing person. You can choose to stumble via the website but I find that downloading the application toolbar is a whole lot better.

The application toolbar allows you to stumble through sites with just a click of a button. It also gives you easy access to your favorites, and even gives you the option to share it in your social networking sites.

How it works

Log in to your StumbleUpon account. In there you can choose which topics interest you. There’s a wide variety of categories and topics to choose from such as Arts/History, Commerce, Computers, Health, Hobbies, Media, Food/Cooking, Humor, Internet, Puzzles, Beer, Cats, and many more I tell you. Just tick on the box that corresponds to your topics of interest and then save your preferences.

And then when you finally decide to stumble, the discovery engine will take you to sites related to your preferences. You can keep on stumbling and stumbling until you find sites that interest you. Plus, depending on your mood, you can change your interests any time you wish.

You can choose topics that interest you, and manage your preferences.

I personally like to cook and do crafts and such, so when I stumble I usually end up in craft forums, tutorial pages or in food blogs. It was thanks to stumble that I found a new hobby — reading through food blogs!

The fun of it

What makes this so great is that it feels like the internet universe is so big yet small at the same time. You realize that there’s so much in the web that you haven’t explored yet. Through stumbling I’ve seen travel blogs of people from different backgrounds and cultures. I’ve seen photo diaries of people with different perspectives in life. I’ve seen the “humor” of other countries, like what’s funny to them and what’s not. And, thanks to discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, we have the means to reaching the before “unreachable” parts of the internet universe. It’s an eye opener, really. It makes you appreciate the many different points of views out there, and makes you rethink about your own.

Another great thing about this is the aspect of SHARING. When you rate sites that you enjoyed, you’re increasing the probability of that site to be known by other people. And, if you “like” a site that hasn’t been bookmarked before, that can be your contribution to StumbleUpon and to the other users. It’s also a way to get local sites or local blogs to get known by other people from different parts of the world. People can visit your favorites and find them there.

Other users can visit your page on StumbleUpon and view your favorites.

People who like your bookmarks may choose to follow you, and you can also choose to follow people with interesting favorites.

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So you see friends, boring doesn’t have to be unproductive. In fact, surfing doesn’t have to be boring at all! With discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, you can hop from different sites all catered to your interests. You can learn something new with just a click of a button.

There are also other discovery engines, but I like the simplicity of StumbleUpon’s system as well as the interface of the site and toolbar. Other discovery engines you may want to try are SpinSnap, Yoono and Fichey. Note though that the other discovery engines have different interfaces, and work differently compared to StumbleUpon.