Saturday, March 6, 2010

StumbleUpon: Where the Internet Goes to Die

For the past couple of months I've been trying StumbleUpon, a social bookmarking site. I decided to give it a shot after reading a recommendation in a book I like by an author I respect who said it's a great way to find and be found on the internet. Unfortunately, my experience differs. StumbleUpon is an apt name because the tour of the internet it provides is similar to what you'd get from a drunk, stumbling, frat boy with poor interpersonal skills.

Your SU experience begins with creating an account and then defining your personal interests through several categorized pages of check boxes. Then it's off to the races when you press the Stumble button in your browser to be presented with a site that supposedly matches your interests. For each page your options are "Like", "Don't Like", or continue Stumbling. Using this process, I've been able to "Like" over 400 pages.

However, after a couple months of this, using SU has become an exercise in click, click, click as a litany of crap parades through my browser.

Apparently the internet is comprised of equal parts LOLcats, gamer sites, and videos that make Bob Saget look like Federico Felini by comparison.

You may be thinking "But John, those are probably the interests you set in your profile." While I enjoy a dose of sophomoric humor as much as the next guy, it might shock you that my interests are a bit broader.

One feature that might greatly improve the SU experience is the ability to exclude web sites from your stumbling. For example, I'd be happy to never see anything from again. Lest you think I'm some sort of elitist, I'd also like to exclude anything from - if I want to read the news, I'll go to their site.

I actually tried to suggest this feature. After probing around the fine print at the bottom of SU's web pages, finding what I thought was their suggestion forum, and typing in my idea, I was stymied by a message saying I needed to register for an account to post something. Wasn't I already was registered for SU? If this wasn't SU, what site did I end up at?

Also, your bookmarks (the sites you "Like") seem to be a dead end in SU. There doesn't seem to be a good way to send them somewhere else or save them like a regular bookmark. By "regular" I means something that doesn't have Stumble Upon prefixed on the URL.

From now on I'll find stuff on the internet the old-fashioned way.

1 comment:

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