With exam season in full swing for most people I know, procrastination is becoming an almost necessary evil. Funny, that immediately after writing that first sentence, I opened a new tab on Firefox and started stumbling. Half an hour later, I’m back and ready to get back to business.
With long hours spent in libraries, coffee shops, and more reviewing/studying/cramming, procrastination actually becomes a necessary evil. There’s a proverb you might have heard that says “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and it’s so true. Too much consecutive hours of work will turn your brain to mush, so procrastination is absolutely needed, but only to a certain degree. Most people just use Facebook, MSN, or similar social networking, but that’s just because they’ve yet to hear of StumbleUpon, which has been around for a while but is recently gaining in popularity.
You curiosity as to what this is has probably piqued by now, but if you have an addictive personality and you’re irresponsible, then stop right now. If you’re confident in yourself, read on. Often friends of mine are constantly asking me things, and too lazy to give them a step-by-step guide on the spot, I wish I could just say “check my blog”, which I can now do regarding Hulu and more.
After another half hour or so of stumbling, I’m back. G-d it’s distracting sometimes. Thankfully, you can just remove it when it’s really time to get down to some actual work, or just tough it out, like I’m doing now. StumbleUpon was created by four guys during post-grad school in Calgary. The budding entrepreneurs decided to create a company before having any specific ideas, and ultimately chose StumbleUpon.
So what is StumbleUpon exactly? (300 words in, finally.) It’s a simple toolbar you can add to almost any web browser. But it’s not annoying like countless other toolbars that exist out there, this one is actually useful. You start it off by first signing up. (You can do that by clicking here.) After signing up, you must confirm your e-mail address (so use a valid one), and eventually install the toolbar.
It’s been a while since I’ve done this myself, so I don’t know exactly when, but eventually you’ll be prompted to list all of your interests/topics. To give you an idea of what they have, here are some of mine; Humor, Internet Tools, Quizzes, Writing, Online Games, and so much more. Once that’s done, and your account is all registered and confirmed, you’re good to go. I advise adding all your friends from your e-mail, which will include people you didn’t even know had StumbleUpon. Adding your friends allows Stumble to actually reach its potential, a social networking tool. More than 7.5 million people use it, and StumbleUpon themselves said that by the end of May 2009, they’ll be collecting their five-billlionth Stumble. So yeah, it’s pretty big. (Stats from StumbleUpon site and Wikipedia).
Though I only have about six friends on Stumble, (and only one really active,) I constantly end up on pages that I think “oh wow, ______ would love this.” On the Stumble toolbar, there’s a convenient “send to” button where you can easily send things to your friends. When you have a website waiting for you from your friend, just look at the toolbar and a red number will be there, stating how many sites are waiting for you.
But the send feature of Stumble is not the only amazing feature. By far, the biggest one is the actual button, which shows the logo and simply says “Stumble!” Clicking this will take you to random websites based on your previously-chosen preferences. Right next to the button are a “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” feature. Click the thumbs up if you really like the site and wish to save it in your Favorites, or thumbs down something if you don’t want to see similar articles. The thumbs down feature actually has its own features within, and you can (if you want) select specific reasons why you thumbs down-ed it.
Hopefully this post did enough to convince you, and hopefully my instructions were satisfactory. If you actually end up getting StumbleUpon, add me by e-mail address (email@example.com), username (gewurzj) or just go to my StumbleUpon profile and add me from there. I look forward to seeing you guys out there!
Disclaimer: I cannot take responsibility for any studying/work that did not get done do to introduction to Stumble. Add the toolbar at your own risk, but you won’t regret it if you do. Also, a lot of my Stumble favorites were thumbs-upped for different reasons, so don’t judge my favorites (or my Stumble interests, which are not necessarily my life interests.)