Stumblin' upon "Stumbleupon"

By Maddy Moloney
In- Depth Editor
Day six geometry homework, a world history  paper on imperialism, a chemistry test, 30 pages of “A Doll’s House”,  and a quiz on Spanish verbs make for a jam-packed night of homework and studying that I mentally prepare myself for at the end of eighth period.
Each night I make a promise to myself, “I’m going to get right home after track and start my homework without any procrastination — no T.V. , no cell phone and no ipod until I am done.”
Sounds like a solid plan, right?
Once I hit the Google Chrome icon on my desktop, it takes me straight to a broken promise of no procrastination. After about 15  minutes of googling for my research paper, temptation gets the best of me. I open the dangerous new tab, drag into history, and scroll down to my recently visited sites until I find the mother of all procrastination: Stumbleupon.

The website takes the work out of mindlessly searching for interesting content through a search engine. Instead, it feeds its eight million users well-rated and intriguing links from all over the internet.  The site uses a rating system of an up and down arrow to ensure all websites that users are directed to are worthy of the stumble — once a website reaches a certain number of down arrows, it’s stripped from the website.
With nearly 500 topics to choose from and an expanding 60 million URLs,  according to the official Stumbleupon blog, it can be hard not to find yourself stuck in a state of procrastination. This explains why the average active stumbler stumbles over 20  times an hour, averaging out at a stumble every three minutes or in a larger scale seven hours a month.
“Feeling a bit self-conscious about the impact we may be having on employee productivity, we took a look at the average number of sites active users stumble per hour throughout the day. For employers’ sakes, we were hoping to see very low numbers during work hours and higher volumes during the off-work hours,” Stats ninja Roberto Sanabria posted on the official Stumbleupon blog along with a graph showing the amount of average stumbles per active users. (See graph)
Stumbles per active users
The graph shows that though the amount of stumbles does decrease, it only drops by a mere 20 percent.
However the time-sucking website might not be all bad when it comes to wasting time. The site offers many useful and insightful topics such as self improvement, books, health and others.
“We believe StumbleUpon is entertaining,” the director of communications for Stumbleupon Mike Mayzel said. “We hope that people use the product to be entertained, educated and exposed to cool content that they couldn’t easily find anywhere else on the web.”
Depending on what you set your preferences to on Stumbleupon, the procrastination can turn into poor prioritizing rather than wasting time since while stumbling you can learn helpful and insightful information helping you down the road. So in essence rather than murdering your time you’re just bruising it.
For example while I was supposed to be working on my chemistry homework, I once stumbled across a personality quiz matching you to which founding father you’re most like. Yes, it was distracting me from my homework however, it was educational; I learned that not only am I similar to Alexander Hamilton but that he was killed in a duel against his long time rival, Aaron Burr. I might not ace my next chemistry test; however, I’m a piece of trivia closer to winning Jeopardy.
The website offers an excape from other more generic websites, cough cough Facebook. Rather than stalking other people’s profiles you could be matching the stalker with their mugshot. Once while stumbling, I was brought to a website that let me match the mugshot of a convict to their crime — I liked the mugshots more than I “like” pictures on Facebook.
It’s the unexpectedness that keeps the website amusing and fun — one minute your mouth could be watering over a recipe for red velvet cheese cake brownies, and the next you could be in shock over finding a list of “25 Cartoons You Never Knew Were Voiced By Celebrities.”
So next week when my research paper is assigned, it’s pretty clear to what I’ll be stumbling upon… -mugshot matchup