StumbleUpon can be a great tool for sharing websites with your friends and also driving traffic to your own website. But with its share to all option, it can also be an easily abused tool which will ultimately drive users bonkers. Here are some big no-no’s when it comes to StumbleUpon etiquette, along with some StumbleUpon tips and resources to make your Stumbling experience rewarding.
StumbleUpon Etiquette Faux Pas
Worried about losing your StumbleUpon friends? Here are some things that lead to people removing StumbleUpon users from their friends list.
- Sending Too Many Shares
StumbleUpon users will agree that one of the biggest reasons they will remove you from their friend’s list is because of too many shares. When you are sending people 10 – 15 pages at a time, that is just overdoing it. And if it’s almost all from the same site, it also makes you look like a spammer. The exception to this rule is the people who share a variety (not all from one site) of meaningful, valuable content. I think most people can determine if what they are sending is helpful to everyone they are sending it too.
- Repeating Shares
There are times when sending an article more than once is ok, such as an older article that has gained new value because of current affairs (such as an article on a virus from two to three months ago that is making a comeback) or a great resource post that you think new members of your StumbleUpon community may enjoy, assuming you just recently added a significant number of people to your friends list. But when you share the same website or page over and over again, then it is overkill and likely to annoy your friends. Chances are, if they did not Stumble it the first five times, they do not want to. Seeing it an additional 10 more times is not going to reverse this decision.
- Creating Multiple Users to Share the Same Things
Some users try to avoid looking like spammers by creating multiple users to send lots of shares or repeat shares. But it’s pretty blatantly obvious when I get the same things from three “different” users. There is a noticeable difference between a good page that two or three friends find and share on the same day, and a page that is shared by three users, one right after the other, with the same description. Especially by three users who use the same naming scheme like Diasy4Lite, Pansy4Color, and Rose4Love (not real users as of when I wrote this post, but just to show my point).
- Expecting/Demanding Reciprocation
For a member to keep their StumbleUpon favorites valuable, both to themselves and others that are looking for great sites, they simply cannot thumb up and review everything that comes their way. You shouldn’t get frustrated because a poet isn’t thumbing up your technical articles, or a car enthusiast isn’t thumbing up your cell phone review. Pushing the matter and getting upset with someone, or sending messages implying that I did this for you, you should do this for me in return is likely going to result in the loss of a StumbleUpon friend.
Also, just because you don’t receive a reply to your share doesn’t mean that someone didn’t like it. I know that I thumb up lots of shares, but don’t always get back to the sender, especially when I started almost every day with a red 99 in my toolbar. Sometimes I have just enough time to read, thumb up, Tweet it, then move on. I like to show my appreciation for the best shares publicly in the weekly Fetching Friday posts instead.
- Pushing for Promotion on Other Social Networks
While I don’t mind the occasional link directly to Digg for a specific page, sometimes I receive several shares, one right after the other, ultimately to the same page – one share for the page itself, one to the page on Digg, one to the page on Reddit, one to the page on a social network I never heard of, and so on. This goes back to the above no-no’s of sending too many shares and repeating shares.
The best way, if you must push for social promotion on multiple sites, is to make social promotion easy on your site. Share the link to the original page and politely ask that friends Stumble, Digg, Reddit, etc. in the optional personal message box. On the page itself, make sure there are user friendly social bookmarking buttons. Or create a mailing list of people that are willing to exchange social promotion emails with you for a variety of networks. Also, make social promotion on other sites easier for yourself by using browser bookmarklets for social bookmarking & link sharing.
Consequences of StumbleUpon Etiquette Faux Pas
If you’re not too concerned about what others think about you and your sharing habits and losing friends, you may be concerned about getting banned by StumbleUpon. I don’t agree with all of StumbleUpon’s reasoning to ban users, or how good users may have to change their Stumbling habits in order to not get banned (discussed in an article on how not to get banned on StumbleUpon). But I do agree that there has been some abuse of the system, and those that are blatantly spamming should be banned in some way to keep the community user-friendly and valuable to everyone.
What does it mean to be banned? Basically, your thumbs up will not be valuable, and anything you discover will not show you as the discoverer.
Here are some tips to make your StumbleUpon experience more rewarding.
- Cleaning Up Your Community & Experience
StumbleUpon users shouldn’t have to feel like they need to leave the community because they are overloaded with shares, especially spammy ones. What I have started to do is, while going through my shares for the day, if I receive several from one person in a row, I will check out their profile. If everything in their favorites is from one site, or looks like nothing but bad neighborhood links (porn, online pharmacies, etc.), I remove them from my friend’s list. Sure it takes a bit of time at that moment, but it saves me from having to go through page after page of daily spam-shares, and makes me less likely to miss a good one from a valuable friend due to a full inbox.
The best, though not always full proof, way to prevent spammers from hitting your StumbleUpon toolbar is to review users before you add them as friends. Again, if their favorites are all from one site or multiple bad sites, you can almost always assume they are a spammer.
- Tagging Stumbles
Since you can’t search through your own Stumbles (not as far as I know of at least), the next best way to be able to find useful Stumbles later on is to tag them. I was lazy about tagging, unless someone specifically asked, but I have found my StumbleUpon favorites more beneficial with proper tagging. For example, I do a lot of searching for the perfect WordPress themes for my freelance WordPress customizations . When I Stumble theme collections for future reference, I tag them with wordpress-themes so I can find my favorite sites easily.
- The Thesis Theme & StumbleUpon Thumbnails
When I changed over to the Thesis theme, I noticed that, since I don’t usually add images to my posts, my post thumbnails on StumbleUpon would be default images from the Thesis multimedia box, even though I have my multimedia box disabled. To fix this issue, when I create a post, I add an image URL to the Multimedia Box Options > Multimedia Box Image. This way, most of the time at least, an image of my choosing will show up as the StumbleUpon thumbnail instead.
Here are some recent articles with more valuable StumbleUpon tips, tricks, tools and more.
- StumbleUpon FAQ, Guides, Tools, Addons and Scripts
- How to Get Visitors Cheap Using StumbleUpon Ads
- How to Use StumbleUpon to Generate Traffic
- Why StumbleUpon’s Su.pr is the URL Shortener of Choice
Are you a StumbleUpon user? Do you have anything to add on ways not to abuse the StumbleUpon system, or ways to add more value to it? Have you almost given up on StumbleUpon because of sharing abuse? Has someone accused you of being a StumbleUpon abuser/spammer?