I LOVE using StumbleUpon, and finding new and interesting sites that appeal to me. When you sign up (it’s free), you select categories and interests that you like so it knows what type of sites to show you. When you visit sites, you click a Thumbs Up to show what you like so it knows to show you more of those, you can simply click the Stumble Button to move on if it’s mediocre for you, or you can click Thumbs Down if it is a content type that you’d rather not see again. Using the add-on (I use one for Chrome but Firefox has one too) makes it really easy. If you read blogs and other sites regularly, you can also give them a thumbs up or down via the toolbar very easily. If you are the first person to click a thumbs up, you will “discover” the post, which logs it into the system for other users. It is important to label the category and tags to match the post so it gets shown to other interested users. For example, if you discover a recipe post and label it FINANCE, those people may not want to see it and give it a Thumbs Down whereas people interested in Food/Cooking might really love it. I am fascinated with how they work their algorithm to tweak the things it shows me so perfectly. Nick likes just Science Fiction, Games, and History, so what it shows him is completely the opposite of what it shows me! I looked this morning at my Profile tab, and then clicked Additions. It breaks down what I’ve discovered over the past year, so I can see which discoveries did the best. I love being able to go back and see things I’ve rated with a Thumbs Up or discovery, so if I want to go find a recipe that I found and forgot to PIN, I can easily locate it! Here are 10 of my Top Discoveries for 2012:

  1. 10 Weight Loss Tips for the New Year – Blog: Shedding Inches – 31K Thumbs Up – Category: Weight Loss
  2. 5 More Facebook Funny Sayings – Blog: The Spring Mount 6 Pack – 18K Thumbs Up – Category: Humor
  3. St. Patrick’s Day Desserts – Blog: Simply Stacie – 12K Thumbs Up – Category: Food/Cooking
  4. Cheesy Chicken – Blog: When Is Dinner – 6,422 Thumbs Up – Category: Food/Cooking
  5. Bacon Wrapped Baked Chicken – Blog: When Is Dinner – 3978 Thumbs Up – Category: Food/Cooking
  6. Pretty on Pinterest St Patrick’s Day – Blog: Freda’s Voice – 2457 Thumbs Up – Category: Quotes
  7. St Patrick’s Day Wreath’s – Blog: Practical Frugality – 1911 Thumbs Up – Category: Crafts
  8. Autumn Maple Leaf Iris Folding Project – Blog: Confessions of an Overworked Mom – 1495 Thumbs Up – Category: Crafts
  9. Recipe: Refined-Sugar Free, Allergen-Friendly Raw Strawberry Lemon “Cheesecake” – Blog: This Flourishing Life – 1131 Thumbs Up – Category: Food/Cooking
  10. Bacon Potato Soup Recipe – Blog: Jade Louise Designs – 1001 Thumbs Up – Category: Food/Cooking

As you can see, it seems I have more “Clout” (luck with getting things seen by more users) in Food/Cooking, Humor, Crafts, and Weight Loss Topics. It’s hard to know what people will like and really take off. I tend to just discover and rate up things I really enjoy and hope for the best. A few that have done really well have been from my own sites. I honestly try NOT to discover my own posts, but sometimes if I need it submitted quickly I will. The ones I have submitted are few and far between though, it is much better if someone else discover’s your posts. You can get banned for submitting “too much” of your own work, it’s considered spammy. I try to discover at least 10-20 posts from other sites before submitting one from any of my sites, usually more than that. My goal is to discover 1-2 posts each day. However, often when I click Thumbs Up organically, someone else has already discovered the post and I keep browsing the net. How do I find discoveries? I subscribe via email to blogs that I really enjoy so I don’t miss any posts. When I see one that I love, I try to discover it, or at least give it a Thumbs Up to help that blogger out. The more Thumbs Up a post gets, the more people it is shown to. I tend to read a lot of blogs in the categories listed above, among a few other types. I also sometimes go into the archives of blogs I really like and see if I can rate up or discover any older posts they may have. Want to follow me? I am Kdkaren on StumbleUpon. You can follow me, and if we have similar interests selected within the system, it will show you pages I have rated up, and it will show me pages you have rated up. You can also share posts with followers – and I rarely share more than 1, perhaps 2 posts at the most in one day with people on my list, and I only share things I think they’ll really like.