So I was required for class to choose a Social Media platform that I use and create a tutorial for my fellow students to learn about it. I am sure you can tell from the title of the post that I chose StumbleUpon. If you are interested, Click Here for the presentation that I uploaded to YouTube.

So for those of you who are interested in how I created the presentation here are a list of the programs I utilized.


I like to use Prezi instead of PowerPoint because I like that the presentation has movement. I think the slides flying in and out of focus are pretty impressive and attention grabbing, especially for students who are used to a lot of movement in their daily lives (ever notice how much the camera angle changes in movies? How fast cartoons move and change?).

This is the first presentation I ever saw given with Prezi and it made me immediately switch. (Here is the presentation without the video)

Then this is the first Prezi presentation I gave for high school students.

I also recommend adding Prezi to your Facebook account as they typically post tips and new features there. Check it out!


I used Screencast-O-Matic to record the audio and the presentation so that I could upload to YouTube, you know, just to make it easy 🙂

I have used Screencast-O-Matic on prior occasions to record tutorials and have always liked the results. Some of the main things I like about this product:

  1. You don’t have to download it. You can use it straight from the site!!
  2. It has the option to have the cursor circled so the viewer can follow it easier!
  3. When you hit record it gives you a visible 3 second countdown until it starts recording.
  4. It is easy to save, or share directly to YouTube or Vimeo. No need to worry about the format or anything, it does it for you!
  5. It is FREE!
  6. It is pretty self-explanatory, aka fool-proof and user-friendly.

So if you need to record things, this is a pretty awesome free option.

Questions from my Classmates

Do you think that this will (or has) become something like Facebook Ads in the sense that advertisements that you see on the web will become more detailed and personalized based on your preferences in StumbleUpon?

According to StumbleUpon they do have paid advertising. The advertisers pay to have their pages added to the Stumble list of sites so that you, as a Stumbler, make it to the paid page instead of getting ads and banners and such. Click Here to read up on it some more.

However, I have been using Stumble since probably 2005 or 2006 and I have to say I very rarely notice when I reach a paid page because the ads are usually so connected with my interest that it isn’t noticed.
And the software does ‘learn’ about you in that you are constantly rating pages (Thumbs up or down) and it ‘learns’ what kinds of things you would like to see.There is a little more info Here.

How can StumbleUpon be used when doing research? Is there a particular way to search for peer-reviewed articles like with Google Scholar?

There isn’t a “Peer Review” Stumble option per se (at least not yet) but I can share how I use it for research.
I use it at the beginning of the research process when I need to learn more about  my topic (or looking for a topic in general). I narrow down the stumble interest to the topic I am interested in, say history, and then stumble the pages in that topic. This allows me to see some of the most interesting stories (from newspapers, blogs, websites, etc.). Then from there I read the articles and look through the Reference lists to gather more info.
To narrow the interests:
  1. On the Stumble Tool bar on the right side there is a search box and a drop down menu
  2. Use the drop down menu to select a previous stumble interest
  3. Or use the search box to input a new topic.

I came across this post in the SU blog, maybe it might help with your research? Also it better describes how to use SU for research. Using StumbleUpon to Get Ideas.

Is StumbleUpon a social bookmarking site, such as Diigo and Delicious, or a search engine? Is it true what I read somewhere that through this SM you can promote the websites that you like but not your own?

StumbleUpon is not necessarily a bookmarking site like Delicious or Diigo  and it is not quite a search engine either,  although you can use it to do both if you wish. The term that I came across that best described SU was a “Discovery tool”. What I take this to mean is that you use the stumble feature to explore new media/topics/ideas and by giving those pages ‘thumbs up’ you narrow down or broaden you interests allowing you to discover new items the more you use the software.

Your homepage will save links to all the sites that you have given a Thumbs Up to so in that sense you are able to use it as a bookmarking site. And because you are able to use the search box on the taskbar to search specific interests I suppose you could call it a search engine as well. But effectively it is both, and it is neither. 🙂
And in my experience, you can promote your own site, or at least you can add it to the list to be stumbled by others.
  1. From your homepage click on Profile.
  2. Then below where your picture is there is blue text that says Your Settings and Add a New Page. Select Add a new page.
  3. Then fill in the URL and the information.
  4. However if it gets enough thumbs down the page is removed from their system.

How specific can you make your search (when searching for pages to add)? Does it give you what you asked for or do you have to “fine tune” your search terms?

Well, it isn’t a search engine like Google or Bing so you won’t get results like that. When you do a “search” it is more along the lines of narrowing interests. For instance, you would wouldn’t search “library school journal articles” but you could narrow the interests to “library school”. Basically you are just browsing topics and getting associated websites instead of getting pages you would look for specifically.

And there isn’t really a way to fine tune the search terms. If you choose to put terms into the search box, there is a predictable text feature that tries to guess what you are typing as you input the terms (kind of like when you start typing into the Google Search Box) so you can choose from that as well.
I would say that StumbleUpon isn’t necessarily used for searching for something specific but should instead be used to search for a broad idea or topic. It was made for entertainment after all and not research. However I like to find a way to use everything for research!

My question is, while StumbleUpon looks like it could be a lot of fun (and possible timesucker) what really sets it apart from other services. i.e., why should I use it? Would you recommend someone replace a site they are using such as Delicious with StumbleUpon, or use it in addition?

StumbleUpon can be a timesucker, but it can also be quite helpful.

For me personally, what sets SU apart from other services is that you don’t really have to know what it is you are trying to accomplish. It is similar to Pinterest in that you have a general idea what you are looking for “Crafts” and the site shows you everything that it has in that area. But unlike Pinterest instead of just getting thumbnails of an image and then trying to link back to the original post (if you can make it that far) you are given the original page so that you don’t have to hunt it down.
I don’t typically use sites like delicious or diigo for personal use (I reserve them for bookmarking school related items so that they show up on my blog widget) but I do use Stumble to ‘bookmark’ stuff for personal use. For instance I like to stumble ‘recipes’ and when I find one I like I give it a thumbs up, then later when I want to find it, I go to my profile and in the “search favorites” search bar I type in Guinness Cupcakes and it brings up the page I had favorited. So basically, I don’t think it should replace your bookmarking sites completely, but it will definitely be useful.

Libraries have found ways to use sites like Facebook and Pinterest to promote products and services, so my question is, how do you think libraries could use StumbleUpon as a marketing tool?

This question had me a little stumped for a bit. Ironically I hadn’t really considered how SU could be used to market the library (although now it seems quite obvious that this should have been my focus). I have always used it as a discovery tool for learning new things and hadn’t thought to market with it. And to be quite honest I am not quite sure how to use it to market your library locally (I will continue looking into this however).

After doing some “research” by stumbling the “Library” interest I have found that several Academic (and a few public) libraries have added their webpage to the SU lists. I have stumbled upon a few special collections pages, law libraries, newspaper articles about collections, special libraries, etc. that all showcase what the library has to offer. It isn’t like marketing to local patrons where you will have people liking you on Facebook and coming in to see what you have, but rather more like advertising that your library exists and showing the Stumbler what you have.
I foresee it being more useful for maybe academic libraries or the genealogical sections of public libraries. However I have seen it used to advertise events at public libraries as well. For instance this page for a local craft session was something I Stumble on, and it is for a Public Library.
So there are marketing uses, and I think that if the Librarian was creative they could get SU to work for them. If anything, you get your website hits up.
You can also inform small business owners of the resource in classes to help them with free marketing. 🙂
Marketing with StumbleUpon:

I was wondering if there is a way to set privacy such as making some likes public and some likes private? You may not care that someone saw you liked a certain book but you may not want to admit to liking that Disney channel star.

As far as I am able to tell, there is currently only 3 privacy settings options.

Settings–> Privacy–>

Show my likes & Interests to…

  1. Only Me
  2. Everyone
  3. Everyone, but hide any adult likes and interests
I have sent an email to the programmers asking if there is a way around this or if there is a way they can adopt a “Thumbs up” and a “Thumbs up but private” option. I will keep you posted on anything I hear back.
Me: Is there a way to publicly like some webpages while privately liking others, like a drop down system similar to what you have for the dislike button?
SU: Hi, You can choose to hide your Likes from other Stumblers by making them all private or making only adult Likes private. Instructions on how to do this are found here.
Me: Yes, I saw that. But I was wondering if there was a way to hide likes that aren’t “adult” private but still have a public profile. For instance, I don’t mind showing that I liked a site about books, clothes, computers, etc. But I may not want to show that I liked a site about pagan religion, Disney Stars, or something that isn’t necessarily ‘adult’ but rather just embarrassing. I hope I explained that better this time. 🙂
SU: Hi, We understand your request, but unfortunately do not have a feature like this for Likes. Our new Lists feature does allow you to keep Lists private and they don’t necessarily have to be adult to be private. There are currently ways to add to Lists without Liking, but as it is in beta, this could change. Apologies for any inconvenience.If you would like to join that conversation on the forum click here.

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