Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Web Secret #16 - Stumble Around

When I want to find out what the latest and greatest websites are in my area of interest, I Stumble.


StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it's a web page, photo or video, the personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.

How does this work? Easy. And it's FREE!

Step One: You download a very simple mini toolbar. This takes seconds. (StumbleUpon lets you demo the tool bar.) The toolbar consiststs of 3 elements: a Stumble! button, a thumbs up button, and a thumbs down button.

Step Two: You specify your interests. Mine, for example, include topics like cyberculture, web development, and computer hardware. Yours might be mental health, psychiatry, and self improvement.

Step Three: Click your Stumble! button. StumbleUpon takes you to a website that relates to your interests.

In my case, doing this takes me to "Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design". Excellent! This might be the inspiration for a future blog entry. I click on the thumbs up button. Not only does this automatically save the website into my favorites, but clicking the thumbs up button tells StumbleUpon that I like this type of website.

I click Stumble again. This time it takes me to a website selling a book "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" Whoa! Way too technical for me. I give it the thumbs down.

Over a very brief span of time, the StumbleUpon algorithm will do a better and better job of learning what types of websites I am interested in, and those that I dislike.

There are countless ways to creatively use the power of StumbleUpon, from keeping tabs on your competition, to keeping abreast of the latest developments in your field, to boosting your creativity.

Have fun!

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