I landed in the world of StumbleUpon almost a year ago.
Like most new social media I discover and then tinker with, it takes me a while to get a feel for the environment inside them. SU took me about six months to get right. (It could’ve been sooner but I’ve had many things going on this past year!)
StumbleUpon was recommended to me by a friend and then I did a bit of research on it. It looked good. The idea of stumbling upon new and unseen work written by authors of all types sounded refreshing. It’d be something readers would want to do with vigorous enthusiasm. So I tried it myself as a blogger… with mixed results.
Theory is such a nice thing. We can theorize all we like, results is what matters.
So it takes time to work out if a nice idea translates into increased traffic / new readers / increased book sales. The short answer is yes… but it’s future is questionable.
StumbleUpon has been a giant (around 2004-ish) and, depending on who you talk to today, it’s either on a decline or steadily growing because some new funds were recently injected into it. That’s nice, new investment means growth (or expected growth). That’s an interesting step to take because long-form posting / reading is said to be declining. The people seem to prefer tweets and photos these days and that’s not what SU is about. It’s almost the complete reverse!
The question is: Will StumbleUpon become a safe-haven for readers and writers who like long-form texts or will it go the way of Experience Project (Another long form posting site mentioned in my earlier post) and fizzle out?
I’d like to think it won’t… but then I look closely at it’s changing content. The shorter post is already taking over. That part is okay but the pop-ups that immediately invade the screen get annoying. They ask readers to subscribe to the offered site before they’ve even had a chance to read a thing to what it’s about. It’s making SU look dirty. There’s that and also the window SU imports websites in to. It takes up space on the screen. For mobile phone and tablet screens, that’s not good. It’s almost criminal!
There’s the download time too: To be frank, StumbleUpon is the slowest of all the sites I use. For those on broadband, that shouldn’t mean much. Their speed is so fast that the delay doesn’t cause concern. But if you’re on 3G or 4G (or even dial-up), it becomes obvious. As I am in a rural area, my 3G link sends bursts of data back and forth from my local tower, breaking up pages into bite-size clusters. The page-within-a-page framework of SU seems to screw it up. It takes a hell of a lot of time to receive and it’s painful to endure. If I were to go directly to any page StumbleUpon is trying to import using the same 3G connection and a new browser page, it’d come in at half the time. Something in the SU system is slowing things down! If I have that problem, everyone in the same situation has it… and that must be quite a few people getting pissed at using SU!
I just hope they read this and take notice. I’d like to see it stay around.
(Author of SEETHINGS)