This afternoon, thinking about what to write about, I rediscovered StumbleUpon, “a discovery engine that finds and recommends web content to its users.” Essentially, you sign up with Facebook, put in your interests and StumbleUpon takes you on a trip of random customization. Through Facebook it links you with friends, so you can see what your friends are stumbling upon (like I care). It also keeps track of pages you’ve “liked” to revisit them, and pages you “dislike” to improve the algorithm.
I haven’t used StumbleUpon in years, but the “discovery engine” was briefly all the rage about 5 years ago. I, along with my friends, used it almost daily. It was simple, entertaining and a great time suck. According to my StumbleUpon profile, I visited 1,677 pages and had 15 interests. My “interests” were mostly normal – pets, traveling, investing, hockey – but I also had Dating Tips in there (whatever, I’m sure someone hacked me lol).
I found interesting content through StumbleUpon, but StumbleUpon’s popularity was short-lived, people just stopped using it.
StumbleUpon died because it got boring. But the core purpose of StumbleUpon is gold – helping people discover the internet.
So here’s how we could resurrect StumbleUpon (points for an Easter reference):
1. Get a better algorithm – StumbleUpon got boring because I kept seeing the same pages, I would like a picture of a cat napping on a hippo and the next 20 pages would be animal pictures. I don’t know how algorithms work, but StumbleUpon’s sucks. Instead of discovering content I’m seeing the same content over and over again because their algorithm is only based on my pre-determined interests. Put a little elbow grease in it, StumbleUpon.
2. Use credible websites – This doesn’t mean only using the likes of the New York Times and my blog, but don’t use click bait sites. Even sites that look like click bait. Stay away.
3. Make it more social – You can see what your friends like on StumbleUpon, but you have to go to their page and click on the list of their likes. What a pain! Instead, give likes more of a timeline feel (like any successful media sharing site ever.)
4. Get better dating advice. I need a boyfriend.