With just shy of 4 million users, StumbleUpon easily remains my personal social community software favorite for sheer elegance, maturity of the community, lack of grubby noise,  useful tools, and delightfully idiosyncratic character. Still SU lacks mainstream appeal as many folks, just delving into social media, have never even heard of it. Incredibly, it seems many are leaving StumbleUpon for Facebook. Bummer…

Flavor of the Year
Facebook is all the front and center mainstream rage, it’s hot in the media, on 50 million users’ lips, and embroiled in controversy for auctioning off the “social graph” of peoples’ lives. Microsoft’s massive cash infusion suggests that Facebook is actually a harbinger of web 3.0′ targeted ad platforms. I wouldn’t sell your Google stock yet. Facebook is noisy as hell and there is already rattling rage regarding potentially litigious backlash for privacy related concerns.

Where’s All My SU Mail?
My analysis is not scientific. I just know that my SU friends now take days instead of hours to return SU contact form emails. The same friends return Facebook email the same day. The volume of bookmarking seems to be reduced in our SU community as well.

All of us only have SO much time each day and tend to focus on sending and receiving communications from email + one or 2 communities. I used to get 6-10 emails a day in SU. Now those same good friends communicate with me through Facebook.

Who Needs All That FB Fluff?
Look, Facebook is cool. aimClear and our nasty marketing pals look forward to helping wreck it by marketing to the social graph with stealthy media buys. That said, I don’t need zombies bighting me, cyber-kisses,  or $1 gifts, to know when some person I barely know is twittering hamburgers or keeping score of food throwing. That’s what our clients’ Facebook victims are for.

Gotta Do What Ya’ Gotta Do
I spend time on Facebook because it’s required reading these days for anyone who sells social media marketing and it’s important to understand if not master the FB operating system. We’ve already driven prodigal amounts of traffic to our clients’ sites and harvested many links from Facebook networking. We appreciate it’s viral brilliance, huge penetration, and cool tools. It’s great for organizing photos.

However, personally I love StumbleUpon. Most of the lifelong-variety of social media friends I’ve made are from SU. It’s easy to find people of like mind, approach them, and get to know each other based on interests and inclinations. SU feels safe and not like a meat market. True, StumbleUpon sports a simpler closed-loop environment and is not as technologically advanced. In this case simple is good. Here’s to my hope that Facebook does not kill SU.

  • NathanSt

    SU and FB IMO are totally different monsters

    I could care less about any sort of social interaction in the SU community

    it’s all about prioritizing links to my preferences

    it’s google with a soul

    FB is more like an interactive social address book

    it helps me keep up with peeps and periodically they’ll pass me a link but generally it’s personality based

    in conclusion

    FB uses social connection as currency

    SU uses links as currency

    Honestly I couldn’t give a shit who recommends a link as long as it pertains to my interests

  • NathanSt

    oh and FB focuses on being exclusive while SU focuses on being inclusive.

    SU will accept almost any content worth viewing while FB focuses on content it controls

  • Marty Weintraub

    @ Nathan: Your comment on inclusive/exclusive is very interesting. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Kerry Santo

    prefer stumbleupon to facebook any day, joined facebook to see what all the fuss, had hassle uploading pics, and didnt invite anyone then got all sorts of invites from all over the place, i like with stumbleupon you can be left alone to enjoy mooching through websites and it has brought me into contact with stuff that I never would have found on facebook. Stumbleupon should be proud not to be part of the mainstream. I dont think facebook will kill stumbleupon, I know quite a few people who are really sick of facebook so yes they have millions of subscribers but how many of them just set up accounts never to return again

  • Zeno, Internetographer

    The social networking aspect of SU feels tacked-on and unecessary. I use SU purely as a way to find websites, and completely ignore all the stupid friends/groups and whatnot.

  • Steaprok

    I agree w/ your general premise, but like NathanSt think you cant really compare the 2. I think they are 2 totally different animals as well. . I love SU, it is fun, interactive and addictive. I also agree that after a while FB is a lot of the same crap, zombies, pokes, and other pointless garbage. BUT, with the investment of MS, the amount of buzz and the open platform for apps., I don’t see FB going anywhere. Although, I am disappointed with the direction they are choosing to go. I had high expectations of FB.

    Although, I am glad that they are starting to tweak Beacon/SocialAds, because in my opinion it takes us backwards in marketing, back to interruption marketing, and at the end of the day, that sort of advertising becomes invisible , or worst yet annoying, like spam or telemarketing calls.

  • Sierra

    Indeed, Facebook is different than StumbleUpon.
    I prefer StumbleUpon maybe because i got used with but you are right when saying that you have to wait days for getting a reply from the SU team.
    I use to send them emails and write in the Help forum too, and they reply only after i write in the forum.

  • Marty Weintraub

    We appreciate the dialog taking place here folks. Please stop back again 🙂

  • Sierra

    Yea i will. It’s a pleasure.:)

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Steaprok: The chatter I hear out there in SEM land is that FB is “interruption marketing.” The FB in-your-face style is rude at times. With SEARCH advertising is contextually related to QUERIES. The power, someday, will be when the social graph plays a more subtle role in returning targeted advertising. I don’t like this interrupt stuff personally.

  • Alexandre

    Interesting post. Noticed it on my Fb newsfeed (a friend noted this entry). Funnily enough, another friend had just invited me to use the SU app for Fb.
    Seems to me like Fb might in fact raise awareness of SU in some corners of the social Web.

    So, what about…
    a) Integrating SU and Fb? Granted, Fb is relatively closed. But how about a mashup-type thing? The SU app for Fb is a start but more could be done.
    b) SU on Open Social?
    c) SU integration with other bookmark/link tools such as Plum, Zotero, Google Bookmarks, Firefox Scrapbook, Spurl, Magnolia,…?
    d) SU as (nano)blogging?

  • Marty Weintraub

    @ Alexandre: Thank you for the thoughtful comment. The SU FB app does not quite do it for me. I like your ideas.

  • Alexandre

    Marty:e SU Fb app yet. Installed it and linked it to my SU account, but didn’t do anything with it. Been using Plum (with the Fb app), and Spurl (adding the RSS to my main blog). The main thing I like about these is that copies of the pages are kept, along with the link. It’s also what I like about the Firefox Scrapbook extension and Zotero but I prefer having those pages kept online so that I can access them from different computers.
    My SU experience is fairly limited but I do notice the similarities with Fb, especially with “posted items,” notes, blog imports, and other sharing mechanisms. One thing I like about Fb, in terms of social bookmarking, is that I only see a few items on any day (even though I have about 250 friends with very diverse interests). Of course, the fact that I know the people who post these items is a big part of my interest in “Fb as social bookmarking.” From what I could see, SU is more oriented toward building networks on people’s interests instead of broadening people’s interests from their networks.

  • Alexandre

    Oops! Should have reread my message before submitting…
    It should read: “Marty: Haven’t used the SU Fb app yet.”

  • Snarf

    Facebook, and myspace, for that matter, is for vacuous, insincere, self-esteemless sheeple who need others to define them. Stumble Upon is for those who have no need to make internet surfing a social game and who want to broaden their minds. FB and myspace are for those who are led by the corporate world and Hollywood and are told what to like, what to eat, what to wear and who to worship. SU is for individuals interested in learning more than with whom Paris has made a sex video. Socializing is what you do with PEOPLE, not with internet pages.

    Socializing online is for people who have a need to hide who or what they really are. My roommate is a bigot, but on myspace, she spreads love, beauty, sunshine, poetry, Mother Teresa quotes and Light with a capital L. The 90 skillion “friends” she has there are completely ignorant of her true nature.

    Am I an intellectual snob? Hell, yes, and I love me very much. Hence, no need to “socialize” online.

  • Marty Weintraub

    @ Snarf: Don’t hold back, say what ya’ REALLY feel.

  • Nionix

    I just press that “Stumble” button, that’s all I do.

    Facebook is for keeping in touch with friends you otherwise wouldn’t.

    Snarf, take a chill pill, your opinion is skewed, and your narcissism is too much for me to handle.