interview thing – tmp.

How long have you been an active user of StumbleUpon?

Four years and seven months. Man and rat.

What makes you use StumbleUpon more than the other social sites such as Digg, etc…?

It has Buddha nature. That, the community, and the free party snacks.

If you could make one positive change to the current Stumbeupon platform, what would it be?

An API, preferably SOAP. User function call hooks in the toolbar code.

What don’t you like about the current StumbleUpon platform?

It’s too vulnerable to being manipulated by people using it for commercial ends. Though sweet rumour whispers that there are plans in motion to remedy this. Popular speculation has it that they are currently in the list building phase of the project, and that phase II will consist of building a 37 and a half foot tall robot called THE STUMBLINATOR, which will hunt down those named on the list and rip off their heads, then juggle with them to the delight of all. And loud shall be the wailings and teeth-gnashing of the widows and children of those who took of themselves to travel down the dark path of Spam. And great shall be the praise of the people. And many shall be the poems and songs written to commemorate this wondrous happening.

What are the main factors you look for in content that you feel is worth stumbling?

That it is original and interesting, not even necessarily to me, but if I think there’s someone going to appreciate it, I am more likely to add it than not.

Is there anything that puts you off stumbling an article?

Plenty: fallacious arguments, bad data, propagandising, obtrusive advertising, being gleikit without a licence…

What sort of topics interest you the most?

Too many to list.

What advice would you give to a brand new user of Stumbleupon?

Spit on the deck and call the cat a bastard. Join groups. Browse blogs. Learn what it means to be Stumbler. Enjoy. Don’t be a dick (till you earn the right).

Do you ever get thanked by the site owners after you stumble their content?

Occasionally. Sometimes I allow them to live.

Has anyone ever tried to bribe you into stumbling their content?

Only by offering to stumble/review/friend in return. So far no offers of money or sexual favours.

Do you own a website? And if so, what have been your biggest StumbleUpon successes from your site?

My websites are legion. Biggest success I guess would be people blogging my photos, ‘s good to be appreciated. Oh, that and thwarting the assassination of Ghandi when he was three years old. But that was be with someone hitting my Web 27.0 AJAX time machine.

What are your thoughts on stumbling your own content?

I have done a fair bit in the past in order to blog my pics, trying to add something original and self-created to my blog. I would me more reluctant to now as I would rather not be associated with those who are here primarily to blog their own stuff.

What are your thoughts on Linkbait and people creating content with the sole aim of getting traffic from sites like Stumbleupon?

The same as my thoughts on any type of intrusive marketing technique, they lie staunchly in the Bill Hicks school. If it’s good content, if it can stand by itself, then great….

But that is very rarely the case, most of it is just stuff taken from somewhere else, or bland pieces written by bland people who think that using that ACME ‘killer template’ (“Top 10 blanks you never blanked about blank!”, “If you aren’t blank, then you aren’t blank.”, really people, blanking enough already) they found on some “expert’s” marketing blog will turn everything they write into pure link-bait gold. It won’t. It doesn’t. It’s spam. It’s slowly turning the social internet to sugary crocodile-smile (“Have a nice day!”) shit. If you are good at writing you can find a better way to profit from it, and if you aren’t, then you are just inflicting your mediocrity on the rest of us and not benefiting anyone. There’s a big difference between using things like ad-revenue to earn legitimate recomsense for the time put into creating content, and creating (or purloining) content purely to get people into the ads (or whatever), using all the tricks possible to over-egg and maximise it’s pulling potential far beyond what it deserves on its own merits.

Are you influenced by factors like authority of the website, design of the website etc? And if so, what sort of things do you specifically look for?

A nice clean, fast-loading design with sensible information architecture is always good, that’s pretty much axiomatic. But really, it’s the content that matters most, better a text file that says something interesting than a $10000 all-singing all-dancing site that does nothing but narcissistically proclaim its own greatness.

Why do you feel you are in the top 30 most powerful users of StumbleUpon?

I don’t, all these ranking numbers are fairly meaningless metrics for any purpose apart from gossip, or perhaps fooling people into thinking that you are something you are not, that you have ‘power’. To consider them the most important factor is a failure to understand what stumbleupon is, and how it works. One thumb, one vote. It may not quite that simple, but it’s damn close. There is no power hierarchy.

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to get into the top 30?

See above. If however it was advice on how to be a good, or even a ‘popular’ stumbler, in my opinion (and it’s nothing more than that):

First of all, be yourself. Stop reading all those “top tip” articles written by vapid corporatesqe-correct wanna-be copywriters about how you’ll get 87 times (according to research they did on the back of an envelope) the CTR if you do what they say. Don’t be another droid regurgitating the facile populist shite those articles are spoon feeding. Be original; be passionate, be angry, be sad, be funny, be outraged, be awestruck, hell, be boring, but be something. Be something that is you, of you, about you, and what interests you. Not what you think people want, what will make you popular, what will sell… Don’t let people tell you who to be. Don’t listen to me.

Then, I dunno, perhaps learn a new thing every day/week/month, research it…. art, science, psychology, politics, whatever tickles your parsnip… discover new things, educate yourselves about them, thumb the best articles and references, blog about it. Use your imagination. Improve yourself and improve Stumbleupon with real, diverse, interesting and original, content. Stumbleupon is a playground of the mind, bring your best toys to share, not just cheap mass-produced poison-painted plastic tat.

Alternatively choose to spend all day clicking the stumble button like a rat flicking the orgasm switch in a laboratory, blindly thumbing every page sent; choose to use a script to do it for you! choose to spam people with tit-for-tat friendship requests; choose to buy thumbs, sell thumbs, swap thumbs, and whore thumbs; choose to create offsite blogs of second-hand content pasted from other sites and thumb everything you post; choose to use bots to create hundreds of accounts with cookie-cutter comments; choose to care only about the numbers; choose to sell your integrity and whatever right you have that people would ever trust your judgment for a fistfull of stinking ad dollars; choose to help create an environment where everyone has to second guess every message and page they receive, wondering if it’s just gonna be yet more spam. Choose to piss in every fountain. Choose that.

That stuff works pretty good as well.

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