In 2001, long before ‘social network’ was a concept bandied about by anyone trying to explain what brings together more than a half-dozen people, four young Canadians wanted to start a company and then build a product from it. They chose their embryonic search-engine project called “StumbleUpon.” Within a year the search engine had over a million users and StumbleUpon now claims over 25 million of them. Recently, StumbleUpon (SU) released an that behaves rather like Google Ads, except “your entire web page is your ad. StumbleUpon doesn’t serve typical display ad formats, such as pop-ups/interstitials, banners, or other invasive forms of advertising.”
But what is this popular yet lesser-known service, and how could it be a useful service for a nonprofit?
At its foundation, a StumbleUpon account establishes a set of filters or delimiters by and for the user so that he/she can ‘stumble upon’ similar material related to an original search on the internet.
Initially, within your account, you can establish your ‘Interests’ and add or remove them as you deem beneficial. Within the Interests tab of your account, you really can see where Twitter and Facebook got some of their ideas and how no ‘genius’ works in isolation. What remains distinct about SU, though, is that as you respond via your SU browser’s toolbar to what SU shows you, your searches and discoveries can become ever better tailored to what topics you want to explore, even if you don’t quite know precisely what you want to find. Think of it as “Friending” or “Following” a topic rather than a person. Within your SU account, you can even send text messages to other members whose sites you have enjoyed.
Like any network of peers, colleagues, browsers… you tend to get out what you put in. A nonprofit could well benefit from establishing an account that draws materials from such categories as ‘Nonprofit’ or ‘Charity Fundraising’ that, as you like pages that are especially relevant, hone in on similar topics/issues. Moreover, your organization can easily establish athat allows those who come to your site by any means to link it into the SUniverse for members to discover. All of this is social, of course, so you can establish a presence on SU via your Twitter, Facebook, Google+… accounts. And you can appropriate for your device.
And though StumbleUpon was bought up by by the conglomerate eBay in 2007, it re-established its independence two years later when original programmers and directors Garrett Camp and Geoff Smith bought it back. So you have the added satisfaction of using an independent site that, in no small way, set the foundation for the mega-platforms of social networking that would rise upon it.