Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Discovering New Sites with StumbleUpon

Filed under: Blogging, Social Media — by Glenda at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For the past several weeks, I have been playing with StumbleUpon – a great tool for discovering new-to-me website and blogs related to my interests. StumbleUpon is also for social networking and meeting people with similar tastes. Finally, if used correctly, StumbleUpon can also dramatically increase traffic to one’s own blog.

Getting Started with StumbleUpon

Getting started with StumbleUpon requires two simple steps:

  1. Join StumbleUpon – you will be ask to set your username, other information and to select your interests (there are 501 to choose from!). Selecting your interests determines which pages StumbleUpon will show you. Pick a few for now until you get the hang of stumbling. You can always change them later.
  2. Install the toolbar. (available for Internet Explorer and Firefox, a workaround exists for Opera and Safari)

Using StumbleUpon for Discovering Sites

With the toolbar installed, you can now begin stumbling by clicking on the Stumble! button. StumbleUpon will show you a page based on your interests.

The Stumble button is the first one on the toolbar.

Using the Stumble! button, I have recently discovered:

Stumbling can be addictive yet quite educational!

When you come across a page you particularly like while stumbling, give it a thumb up!

The thumb up button is the second one on the toolbar.

If you particularly do not like a page, give a thumb down:

The thumb down button is the third one on the toolbar.

However, use the thumb down sparingly, for example, on:

  • slow loading pages
  • non existent or error laden pages
  • ad-heavy pages
  • voting pages from other social media
  • pop-ups & pop-unders

If you do not have a strong opinion either way, it is best to move onto the next stumble. Save your thumbs up for the best content.

Using StumbleUpon for Networking

StumbleUpon is great for connecting with people with similar interests. To get started, feel free to add yours truly!

Submitting Pages to StumbleUpon

With StumbleUpon, you aren’t limited to thumbing up (or down) pages presented to you. You can also thumb up (or vote for) pages that you come across by other means, for example when reading your favourite blogs.

However, if you are the first to thumb up a page, you’ll be presented with a submission form:

Screen shot of the StumbleUpon Submission Form

To submit a page:

  • Clean up the Title field – you want only the post/page title here
  • Write a couple sentences about the page in the Review box.
  • Select the most appropriate topic. There are 501 to choose from, including those from the dropdown menu.
  • Add up to five tags, separated with a comma, either chosen from the topic list or keywords from the page. For example, tags appropriate for posts from this blog may include: activism, blogging, books, disabilities, health, humor (the American spelling, unfortunately), internet, technology, social-media, society, writing. Unlike with search engine optimization, the key here is to use broad terms for tags.
  • Indicate whether content is adult content.
  • Click on Submit This Site.

Caution: If you are the first to discover a page and you choose not to submit the form (say, if you are in a rush or if you aren’t sure what to write for a review), hitting your Back button or moving on to the next page can send that page into the StumbleUpon graveyard, which is not good! When presented with the Submission Form, please complete the brief review process.

To check whether a page has been reviewed, click the Comment button:

The comment button is the sixth one on the toolbar.

From there you can add a review if you wish.

One Final Tip

From your profile page, viewing My Favorites in the grid display provides thumbnails of pages you have stumbled. This is an easy way to see how many times you have stumbled pages from the same domain (e.g., www.doitmyselfblog.com). Over stumbling a domain can have a diminishing effect in terms of traffic, and can actually ban the domain and your account from StumbleUpon, which is a not what you want!

Screen shot of my stumbles. 4 out of 24 are for the same domain.

A good rule of thumb is one in twenty-five stumbles for the same domain or blog. Looking at this screen shot of my own stumbles, I did not do Disaboom any favours with these stumbles. This is another reason why learning how to use StumbleUpon correctly is so important. Doing the wrong thing, despite good intentions, can have disastrous consequences.

The occasion thumb up and review for yours truly, the Left Thumb Blogger, is very much appreciated! Too many will result in the opposite affect than you intended.

Additional Resources

I have found there is much more to using StumbleUpon than I realized. Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Happy stumbling!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Life is a Garden Maze

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 3:16 pm on Friday, August 8, 2008

Garden maze in the Netherlands
(Photo credit: weetabix)

In his “What I Learned From…” group writing project for August, Robert Hruzek asks us to share our metaphor for life.

Life is a garden maze immediately came to mind.

Imagine a garden maze with hedges too tall to see over. There is no way of knowing what lays ahead until you are actually there, and then face the decision of turning left or right, again without knowing what is around the corner. Some paths are one-way; there’s no turning back. Others permit an about-face. Any plans for reaching the end goal can be thwarted by taking the wrong turn. That is life!

To keep the experience interesting, the occasional tennis ball is lobbed out of nowhere, aimed straight for you – a parent’s divorce, a job loss, a spouse’s illness – and you must continue along the maze while dealing with these flying balls. However, sometimes a ball is good – an unexpected opportunity or a huge windfall (hey, it still could happen!). When you least expect it and at the most inopportune, a ball can force you to completely change directions within the maze.

The manner in which you navigate the maze is solely your choice: timidly and fearful of what is around the next corner; confidently yet impatient to get to the next juncture; calmly, taking time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Personally, I am in no rush to reach the exit. I’d like to experience as much of the garden as I can before spotting the out sign. For now, I am enjoying where I am in life’s maze and will venture around the next corner in due time.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Ten Years of Married Bliss, Already?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 6:36 pm on Friday, August 1, 2008

Darrell and Glenda, both in wheelchairs, exchanging their wedding vows

Do you remember what you were doing ten years ago today?

I sure do!

I, along with a team of family members, bridesmaids, soon-to-be in-laws and my fiancé, were taking care of a seemingly million things before the Big Day!

Yes, Darrell and I have been ten years tomorrow! Ten years? Already? Where does the time go?

I won’t say the past ten years have been easy; every married couple would know I’d be lying. But, I am grateful and thankful for being on this journey.

Darrell and Glenda married

Darrell is a wonderfully loving and caring husband. He supports my ambitions and ideas, no matter how crazy they may sound at the time. He knows how to handle me when I am about ready to toss my computer out the window. He keeps me well stocked in chocolate – the good kind! And, when he holds me, I feel safe in his arms.

Reflecting back over the past decade together, one lesson that I’ve learned is the importance of understanding and patience, which isn’t always easy for a fiery red-head. Sometimes it’s much easier to fire out a “Why weren’t listening?” when says he didn’t hear me, but what would that do, except hurt the one I love? Instead, I try to take a deep breath and repeat myself, calmly. I confess that I don’t always succeed, and, occasionally, those verbal darts shoot out.

The same goes for understanding. Although I don’t believe it is possible to fully understand what it is like to walk in another’s shoes, so to speak, I do believe it is possible to better understand, which takes communication and patience from both individuals. After ten years, I finally better understand what it is like for Darrell to have absolutely no depth perception. I now better understand that when I go zipping along the sidewalk downhill, he feels he is about to drop off of a cliff. I now try to be more aware and to guide him. Getting to that point took several discussions, a few tears and much patience.

In the end, it comes down to accepting each other’s quirks, and accommodating and working around (or with) them as a team, as a married couple.

Happy anniversary, Darrell! God willing, and as along as we don’t kill one another before then, let’s go for another ten!

 Married hands showing the wedding rings
Two lives,
Two hearts,
Joined in friendship,
United forever in love….

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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