Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Secret of Finding What You Like

Isn't the Internet an incredible idea? I am seriously unsure whether I could exist without it. (Scary thought, isn't it?) It's like having an oracle in your home, ready to answer whatever questions that pop into your head. But sometimes it can also be like an annoying door-to-door salesman who can't get the message no matter how many times your slam the door in his face. With so much out there on the net, I often find it impossible to sort out the garbage from the treasures. It's like being lost in an immense library, flea market and cavernous trash bin.  I start out looking for thing and suddenly wake up as if from a hypnotic state, in some very different place.

However, lately I've been using a web browser add on called StumbleUpon. It's helpful, easy to install and best of all, it's free and "advert-less." Using this tool, I am able to set my entirely too random wandering along a general guide. For example, if I am suddenly (inexplicably) interested in ambient music, I can direct my Stumble Upon tool bar to scan the web for all the sites related to that subject and recommended by other explorers who have passed this way before me. There are hundreds (but not thousands) of interests to choose from so the range is fairly wide.

Unlike a search engine that should direct you to site based on specific information, Stumble Upon only gives you general choices based on your selected interests. After all, sometimes- most of the time, maybe- I am not certain what exactly I am looking for. So for example, if I'd like to see all the recommended sites regarding Food/Cooking (meaning I am probably hungry) then I chose that interest and automatically some site about food will magically appear. Maybe my eyes will bug out and start to drool or maybe I will click Stumble and begin a new search. And I can change my interests at any time or even add new interest. if somehow I have sorted through all the sites in one category. (I have yet to do this on any category by the way.)

On the opposite side, when you find a web site that you think is worthy of attention, then you, as a Stumbler, are obliged to add it to the recommended lists. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see how this noble effort could be easily corrupted by unscrupulous advertisers, but at the moment, it seems to be working and fulfilling its original purpose.

Mind you, it will not lessen your Internet browsing time, if that's what you are looking for. If anything, I spend more time surfing but, at least, I am exploring more effectively. One warning: it will force you to organize your bookmark manager into thoughtful folders because you will quickly locate sites that you will want to return to over and over.

Anyway, try it for yourself and let me know what you think.


  1. apaprently, i have signed up for stumbleupon some years ago, because i keep gettin email messages from them saying something like "the sites you may like." and i really dont know what i was thinking at the time, but they syggest me geneology sites, most probably because i told them that i am interested in it.

    nowadays i dont bother to open their mails or go to their site and change my preferences. maybe i do that later.

  2. I hate receiving emails like that. I must have done something right because I haven't gotten one from them. You probably left a box checked in your options when you registered. I use Chrome and the tool bar appears only when I click on a small icon to the far right. So that's not so annoying.

    So you're interested in Genealogy too? Awhile back I wrote a post about my efforts.

  3. actually, i had to look up to dictionary to see what it means :)

  4. You're funny. I know what it means but I can never spell it correctly. Thank God for automatic spell check.


Always great to hear from visitors to Nomadic View. What's on your mind?


Related Posts with Thumbnails