StumbleUpon describes itself in the following way:
“StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it’s a web page, photo or video, our personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.”
To use StumbleUpon you need to download the StumbleUpon Toolbar and install it. During the installation process the StumbleUpon Toolbar will be embedded into your browser. The StumbleUpon Toolbar has different versions for Firefox, Mozilla Application Suite and Internet Explorer.
The simplest analogy for StumbleUpon would be to compare it to your TVs remote control. You can just flick through the available channels and stop and look at what interests you. The Stumble! button on the StumbleUpon Toolbar is just like the channel up button on your TV remote control. You click the Stumble! button and you can flick through websites, photos or videos depending on your settings.
Once you have downloaded the StumbleUpon Toolbar you can then set your preferences for what sort of media Stumble will show you. In the preferences section there are 100s of areas of interests that you can choose to see information on. For example I have currently 21 areas of interest that I have selected to see websites, photos or videos on, which I have copied below:
Activism Australia Babies Children’s Books Country music Crafts Family For Kids Homemaking Independent Film K-12 Education Liberal Politics Parenting Politics Psychology Rugby Sewing/Quilting Shakespeare Sociology Teen Parenting Women’s Issues
This provides me with quite of mix of interests that I can flick through. As you are flicking through these items you have the choice to give them the “Thumbs Up” by clicking that button on the StumbleUpon Toolbar or the “Thumbs Down”.
Clicking on the “Thumbs Up” will save that website to your favourites on StumbleUpon and tell StumbeUpon to show more like this to you. If you click the “Thumbs Down”, you tell StumbleUpon not to show you any more sites like this.
This is the very basics of StumbleUpon. In my next post on StumbleUpon I will explain how you can use the StumbleUpon Toolbar when you are checking out other sites and add them to StumbleUpon with your review.