Today, as the video opens with some awesome sounds from a V18 amp head in the background – Ed lets us know, we’re going to be learning about StumbleUpon…take a look at the video below.

Find Great Websites With StumbleUpon

This lesson is kind of a tough one to do, and the reason for that is StumbleUpon. It’s a powerful tool, it’s very cool – but it can also be a bit of a distraction. You’ll see what I mean.

So, what is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

Basically, if you’re in a “discovery” frame of mind – or looking for ideas, StumbleUpon is a terrific way to go through the internet looking for things you like. It gradually gets to know the things you like and the things you don’t like – and comes up with some real gems based on your preferences. The longer you use StumbleUpon, the better it gets at serving up sites that you’ll like.

The reality is, there are billions of web pages out there – you’ve probably only actually seen a tiny fraction of a percent of them. You’ll never get through them all – and you could never search out just the ones you’d like. In fact, you probably have a fixed set of sites you go through and rarely discover anything outside of your “bubble.” And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

StumbleUpon also has awesome potential for internet marketing. We’ll learn more about that as we get into the actual Thirty Day Challenge. Like many social bookmarking sites, the more a site gets a positive rating – a thumbs up – the better it is. This ranking system works very well to connect users with sites based on their preferences. We can utilize that to bring attention to our sites as well.

This should be mentioned now, Ed and the Thirty Day Challenge Team is operating under the assumption that your content adds value for the reader, offers up a solution to a problem or just plain makes somebody’s day. If it’s none of those things, social bookmarking will work against you and eventually lead to your demise.

Take this site for example – does it add value for you the reader? I hope it does. I hope that you’re watching the training videos in their entirety – and then I’m hoping these notes add value as a reference tool for you.

Do these posts offer a solution to a problem? Well, that may be debatable. But it probably solves a problem for some people. By posting summarized notes on the thirty day challenge – I’m creating a reference tool for my own use that I expect will also become a reference tool for other thirty day challengers.

Does finding a resource like this make your day? Only you can answer that one – but I’d like to think I made your day a little bit better. Whether I did or didn’t – please let me know in the comments area below.

StumbleUpon, and sites like it want to add value for their users – and because of that, they don’t want to be victimized by spammers. So they look closely at how people use their service. If you want to avoid being lumped in with the spammers, don’t spam. Learn how to use social bookmarking sites the way they were intended to be used.

Let’s Get Ready To Stumble!!!

Now, I’ve been holding off on this – and I’m glad I have. To review, back in the post “Extensions To Install In Flock” one of the extensions we installed was the StumbleUpon toolbar.

If you haven’t signed up ro StumbleUpon yet, you should go ahead and do it now:

StumbleUpon - Join

StumbleUpon - Join

Now, let’s get it fired up.

Once I’d installed the StumbleUpon toolbar and restarted Flock – my screen came up with this:

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

And the actual toolbar looked like this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

What to do…What to do…Okay, I’ll hit the “continue” button… and here’s the screen I get:

So this is how StumbleUpon gets to know me in the beginning…

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

Now it’s time to open my StumbleUpon account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

My user name is SteveH2008 – feel free to look me up if you’d like to be my StumbleUpon friend.

And now my screen shows this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

AND – my toolbar now looks like this on the left:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

and like this on the right:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

Now We’re Ready To Stumble!!!

The Thirty Day Challenge is all about taking action – so let’s take some action now. Go ahead, click the Stumble! button.

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

Let’s see what comes up:

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

This comes from www.wikisky.org – a picture of the Nelix Nebula.

What do I think? Do I like it or not?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

Now, it has nothing to do with making money online, but at the risk of revealing my own inner geek – I happen to like it – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I liked it

StumbleUpon - I liked it

Let’s try one more – I click the Stumble button and…

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

This comes from www.drgrammar.org – and might come in handy if, say for instance – you have to do some writing 🙂

What do I think?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

Now, this could actually be a good resource for copy writing – AND I can think of a few people who might like it too – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

Enough of my little personal digression…let’s get back to the rest of the lesson.

What if I didn’t like it? Well, I could just click on the “thumbs down” button. Does that deal a devastating blow to someone’s content? Not really, it’s mainly a way for StumbleUpon to serve up websites that I would actually like.

If you use this in a genuine way, any time you come across a page or a post or content you like – you should get into the habit of clicking the “I like it” button.

Now, as I click the Stumble! button – I’ll be going through pages that have already been “Stumbled Upon” by someone.

What if I come across a piece of content that hasn’t been “Stumbled” before?

Man, I am so glad you asked that. Here’s why…

I haven’t done any social bookmarking for this site yet. I’ve made a few blog comments, and started including it in my Thirty Day Challenge signature – but that’s it. So, I’m going to go ahead and “Stumble” one of the posts here that I think is very useful. The “Table of Contents” page…

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

So – that will become part of my routine. In addition to writing up my notes, once I publish the post – I’ll start using the “I like it” button to add my posts into StumbleUpon.

As I was typing this post and doing the screen capture above, I realized that I forgot to add tags before I submitted the site to StumbleUpon. In fact, in looking at the screen shot – there wasn’t a place in the dialog box for adding tags. In the video, Ed talks a little bit about tags – and they are important. But I couldn’t add any – so, now what? I’m glad you asked…

To fix or edit something like that, I’m going to click on the link in my toolbar marked “Favorites”

StumbleUpon - Favorites

StumbleUpon - Favorites

From here, I can locate the site I just posted.

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

I click on the “edit” button in the upper right corner of the entry.

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

The editor allows you to edit your description, and also add tags at the bottom. It seemed to limit me to 5 tags, I’m not sure if that’s consistent within StumbleUpon. But I wasn’t able to get more than 5 tags to save or display. Take that for whatever it’s worth. Once I was finished adding tag, I just clicked the “save” button.

Of course, if you’d like to practice using StumbleUpon – feel free to click YOUR “I like it” button while you’re still reading THIS post. If it’s already been “stumbled” – that’ll be all you have to do. If you happen to be the first to “stumble” a post – well, you may end up writing a description and selecting a category and tags too.

Now, the homework Ed assigns is pretty simple. Spend some time, maybe an hour or so – and Stumble. Click “I like it” for the things you like, and click the “Thumbs down” button if you come across something you don’t like. This will help you get to know StumbleUpon better AND will also help StumbleUpon get to know you too.

Keep in mind as you start stumbling – use it the way a person would use it, not as a “marketer” would use it. It’s like a bank account. By “stumbling” sites that you enjoy – it’s like making a deposit to your account. If you “stumble” one of your own posts – it’s like making a withdrawal. Make sure you don’t overdraw your account. That’s something a spammer would do.

Let’s wrap this up with a look at the “Channels:” section of your toolbar.

StumbleUpon - Channels

StumbleUpon - Channels

Notice the “Globe” icon – that one randomly takes you through everything.

You can Stumble through “favorites of friends”

You can Stumble through images.

You can Stumble through videos.

You can Stumble through a list of popular websites, like YouTube or WordPress or Flickr – the drop down menu gives you a lot of options.

You can Stumble through News Items.

And the “All” drop down menu give you a host of ways to filter through the items you Stumble.

One thing I noticed – when I’m on this tab in my browser, editing my WordPress blog – the WordPress icon appears to the left of the Globe icon.

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

If I switch tabs to a YouTube video, the YouTube logo appears there.

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

When I switch to my Flickr tab to grab one of my screen captures – the Flickr logo appears in that place.

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the StumbleUpon toolbar can recognize the site you’re on and offers up the option of stumbling through items within that site. Pretty cool trick if you ask me…

So go have some fun getting used to StumbleUpon.

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

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In today’s lesson we’ll cover the rest of the cool things that you can do with Twhirl.

Using Twhirl Pt. 2 | Thirty Day Challenge

We’ve already covered a bit about the “direct message icon (shown below.)

Twhirl - Direct Message Button

Let’s compare and contrast some of the key differences and uses for direct messages vs. “@” replies.  Keep in mind, in using Twhirl and Twitter, you are putting content out on the web for others to view – so you have to keep the reader in mind.  In fact, you’ll want to be mindful of your potential future readers.  In doing so, there’ll need to be some deliberate thought behind your usage of “@” replies vs. direct messages.

In the video, Ed gets a message about where the periods go in the term “del.icio.us” – now Ed could choose to use an “@” reply, which would show up in his public twitter feed.  Anyone who is “following” Ed would be able to read it.  But without any context, that reply wouldn’t make much sense and may not be of much interest to his Twitter followers.  So in this case, a direct message makes more sense.

Twhirl - Tweeting A Direct Message

One caveat, you aren’t able to send a direct message to someone who is not following you.  So, you couldn’t send a direct message to Ed_Dale unless he was following you.  But you COULD send him an “@” reply.  In that case, you would want to remember to provide some context AND get to the point in 140 characters or less.

Direct messages would be very handy for communication within teams.  We will also learn about another Twitter-based service that will allow us to send private messages within the Twitter frame-work.  More on that later…

Below is the “archive” folder button – it allows you to view the Twitter archive of all your posts.

Twhirl - Archive Button

Next up is the “favorites” button – which Ed doesn’t use much.  It can be used to help remind you to come back and look at something later.

Twhirl - Favorites Button

This is the friends and followers button.  You can use this to help you maintain the list of people you are following and the people who are following you.

Twhirl - Friends And Followers Button

By way of example, you could go through your friends and followers list and send them a reply, a direct message – or you could “unfollow” them.

Twhirl - Unfollow User

On to the “Lookup” button.  This is a particularly handy Twhirl function to help you find people on Twitter.

Twhirl - The Lookup Button

In this example, Ed looks up DanRaine on Twitter.  It shows all of Dan’s posts, his website information and his Twitter stats.  From here, you could send him an “@” reply or a direct message.  You could also “unfollow” him or block him if he’s being a pill.  🙂

Twhirl - Block User Button

As you get better and better as a Twitter user, you may find yourself checking the “API” button.  There’s a limit to how many times you can access Twitter each hour.  They do this to throttle down the flow of traffic – they may increase that limit in the future, but for now – you can hover over this icon to show your current API usage and the overall health of Twitter at the moment.

Twhirl - Twitter API Stats

If you do happen to exceed your API limit, it will reset within an hour – and you’ll be back up and running.

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The “toggle filter” button allows you to search through your tweets for a certain person or post.

Twhirl - Toggle Filter Button

The “mark all as seen” button does just what it says.  This can help keep your message window current.  You may notice that “tweets” you haven’t read yet have a star by them…

Twhirl - Mark All As Seen Button

Below is the “refresh” button, which will poll Twitter for any new tweets.  This will count against your API limit for the hour, so use it sparingly if at all.

Twhirl - Refresh Button

Wrapping up this post – The way Ed uses it, Twhirl just sits on his desktop.  Rather than let it be a constant distraction, he just checks it when he has a few minutes to review and respond to his tweets.

I’m a big fan of clustering tasks – meaning, I work on e-mails for a while, then I’ll shift gears and work on phone calls, after that – maybe I’ll work on a blog post.  In between, maybe I’ll check on my twhirl feed and see if anything needs a response.  In addition, if I’m working on something that would make sense to “tweet” about – I’ll post it to twhirl and then get right back to the task at hand.  But I try to make sure I’m using Twhirl in a way that enhances my productivity and extends my reach on the web – not as a distraction that allows me to procrastinate…It just takes a bit of self-discipline.

If you use Twhirl and Twitter in that way, you’ll find it to be a fantastic and simple way to inject your voice into the “conversation.”  When we get to some additional elements that we’ll be learning about shortly, you’ll begin to see how to use these tools to market more effectively.  So get used to using Twitter and Twhirl, remember the “TwitterBar” we learned about a few days ago – and we’ll learn more in the next lesson from Ed.

Important/Related Links

Twhirl
Click here to download Twhirl.

Follow Ed on Twitter
Click here to follow Ed on Twitter.

Follow Dan on Twitter
Click here to follow Dan on Twitter.

Follow Rob on Twitter
Click here to follow Rob on Twitter.

Sign Up for the Thirty Day Challenge
Click here to sign up for the thirty day challenge.
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If you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl