If you pay much attention to the blogging world you may have noticed that the most influential and popular blogs are tech blogs--blogs about blogging, computers and the internet. Why is this? The percentage of the population involved in the tech industry isn't representative of the percentage of tech blogs in production, so why do they have such a chunk of the cyber world's attention?
It's from two things: First, those who are interested in tech subjects are the ones building the internet and the blogosphere but second, readers who are interested in tech blogs are also savvy to social bookmarking: tools to mark and rate websites that have the power to drive certain blogs into the blogosphere's attention.
I'm frustrated that with as many smart, capable bloggers as I've come across few are aware of these social bookmarks and the power they represent for driving non-tech blogs into the public notice.
Many bloggers are concerned with little outside their niche and are therefore generally languishing in anonymity. I'm hoping to help change this with this third post in my Blogging 101 series, by explaining and encouraging the use of one social bookmark I've fallen in love with: Stumbleupon.
Whether you're a blogger or a reader, Stumbleupon is a web-discovery tool that operates much like your remote control on your television: with each click you can forward to the next randomly-selected website offered for your approval. Well, it's not entirely random, websites are generated based on various criteria you select when you join the world of Stumbleupon.
Here's how it works:
1. Go to Stumbleupon and click the Sign up Here button to register. It is compatible with both Firefox and Interenet Explorer.
2. Download the Stumbleupon toolbar. It takes just a moment and once you download it you'll have to close and then reopen your web browser to see the toolbar appear at the top of your screen.
3. Create a profile page. They'll walk you through the details and they'll ask for information such as where you are, if you want a picture included, things like that. If you have a blog you can register the URL with Stumbleupon.
4. Customize your stumbles. Once you've done steps 1-3 you'll be able to visit a page that looks like this where you can select which topics interest you. For example, I've selected things such as gardening, family, humor, home, hobbies and cooking.
5. Click that new Stumble! button you now see at the top of your page and see where it takes you. You'll immediately be whisked away to a site chosen for your perusal based on the topics you've selected. If you especially like it, click the "thumbs up" icon. If you hate it, find it objectionable or are just feeling cantankerous click the "thumbs down." What could be more democratic?
It is the process of each user rating the sites he or she visits that can drive certain posts or sites to the top of the charts. If you are a lucky blogger such as Mom on A Wire, you may have gone to your stat counter one day and discovered piles of mysterious visitors who arrived at your blog via the Stumbleupon train. Once someone Stumblesupon your site and gives you the "thumbs up," it places your site higher in the rankings and more likely to be Stumbled on by the next viewer, and the process grows from there until--if you're my husband--you suddenly have 4000 visitors in a single day (lucky dog).
So go register, get that toolbar, pick the topics you want to read and start Stumbling. Here are a few of the sites I've Stumbledupon this week:
Mom'sMinivan.com which has travel games and activities.
Kitchen Myths A site to debunk common cooking myths.
Smoothie Recipes which brags about over 100 different smoothie recipes.
ManyBooks.net One of many sites for free books compatible with an MP3 player.
Build the Best Paper Airplane in the World My boys will be thrilled.
Dave Barry's 25 Things I've Learned in 50 Years This isn't new, but it's new to me--and funny.
Top Secret Recipes A site that recreates favorite restaurant recipes.
Il Bloggo Specifically, a post that teaches how to make a concrete birdbath using a rhubarb leaf--and concrete.
Craft Bits Make a purse out of playing cards and duct tape. I'm not sure if it's hysterical or brilliant.
U Handbag Sells and shows instructions for making the most beautiful handbags.
As with television, you'll come across a lot of junk but vote for what you like--including the blogs you visit regularly while you're there--and see how mommybloggers and their readers can change the makeup of the blogosphere.
Technorati tags: Stumbleupon, social bookmarks, blogging, mommyblogs