This post may seem a little fragmented towards the beginning, but keep reading. It will all come together…trust me.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone about the internet and about half way through, you noticed them mentioning websites and services they just assumed you knew about? I have. It’s a real personality trait for these people. I am not talking about industry people talking about industry things to other industry people. Obviously those people know what they are talking about, even if we don’t. I am talking about those types who blow the smallest little service out of proportion and think the world should know what the heck is going on. I remember I was talking to someone (artist) once about art. He needed some help with designing a website. He says, “There is a HUGE buzz about me on the internet!” I’m like, “Who are you again?” I think he was insinuating that we all hang out in art chat rooms or something.
Now, if you are talking to someone and they mention that they just purchased the best little treasure on EBay and you don’t know what that means, you really need to see a specialist.
Let me break in here for a second – I want to mention one of my favorite things about the internet…and that is creativity. What if the internet was never created? Can you imagine some of the world’s most creative people sitting at cubicles selling buttons instead of devising and creating fascinating solutions to problems and wonderful websites that you never even thought you needed. I mean it. There are things today that just boggle my mind. They do things that I never thought could be done or ever thought should be done. It’s like this amazing extra slice of the world was born and finally gave habitat to all those people who never truly had a home. Now that is deep folks. In just a few years, (relatively speaking) the internet has woven its way into so many people’s lives…and many people don’t even know it. I for one, make a living off it. Ten years ago, I would’ve laughed at that idea. Me, at a computer? Pleeeeaase…I was too busy taking engines out of cars.
Ok, here it is. The point of this chatter is all about two up-and-comers that you may hear about in conversation. After reading this post, you will know a little about them. I really get excited when a team gets together to bring us another nifty tool.
The first website is StumbleUpon.com. I literally stumbled upon this one. I was in Paul’s office yesterday and he was checking his blog’s stats. He was like, “Whoa, 65 visitor from StumbleUpon since this morning!” My ears perked up. I thought that if he got 65 new visitors, I could get at least 32.5. I went back to my desk to investigate.
Apparently, StumbleUpon.com works like this: Someone visits their website and signs up for an account. Then, they download their toolbar (which works with other toolbars, not instead of). When set up, they can push the “Stumble!” button on their new toolbar and their browser shows a random website. Not all that new of an idea. What is pretty cool is that you can rate any site out there and give it a review with the toolbar. Also, there is a networking element to it as well. You can recruit “friends” and join “networks.” Kind of like MySpace. The big benefit of the whole thing is that, once a site is reviewed by someone and StumbleUpon discovers the site, StumbleUpon drives traffic to that site like mad. People everywhere are now pushing that “Stumble!” button visiting random websites. This isn’t targeted traffic, but traffic nonetheless. You figure out what to do with it.
The second website is FeedBurner.com. If you have a website that has a RSS or any other type of data feed, you can sign up to push your feed to FeedBurner. Once they have it, you use their feed service instead of your own. They make it really easy for people (who are looking for site content) to grab your content and use it on their own websites. Take a look at the right column of this blog. This is good for you because again, this drives traffic to your website. Once again, it is up to you to find something to do with this traffic. If you have no model, you might not want all of these visitors because it may just increase your web hosting bill. The cool feature of FeedBurner is that they offer stats on who is using your feed.
Having the personality I was born with, I get excited, yet frustrated when I come across these types of great sites running with awesome ideas. I wonder why I’m not on their team…but then I get sucked back down to earth and am reminded that I have my hands full with my own boiling cluster of websites.