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How StumbleUpon Works

StumbleUpon Toolbar
It's important to get familiar with everything your new StumbleUpon toolbar can do.
It's important to get familiar with everything your new StumbleUpon toolbar can do.
HowStuffWorks 2008

Let's take a closer look at the fundamental part of the StumbleUpon experience: the toolbar. To begin, you must register and download the toolbar from StumbleUpon's home page. Spend some time getting familiar with the toolbar's capacities. It has a wide range of options and elements that can be customized. This can be done by clicking where it says Tools (or where a set of arrows appears) on the far right-hand side of the toolbar, which will prompt a drop-down menu upon which you can select Toolbar Options.

For instance, you can add a search box that will send your stumbles to your different interests. On the StumbleUpon toolbar, you can also adjust your Stumble! button so you're searching through a friend's stumbled pages. To do this, go to the spot on your toolbar that's labeled Channels and select one that interests you -- in this case the Pages from… option. Friends is just one possibility though, you also have choices such as photo, video, various news media and other types of sites. Clicking on one of these will add an icon to your Stumble! button to show what channel you're currently on. If you want to return to regular stumbling, click the channel button shaped like a globe. It's also good to check for toolbar updates occasionally to find out if there are new features available.

As you get braver and start exploring StumbleUpon, chances are you're going to make a few mistakes and take a few wrong turns -- learning how to navigate a new online social network can be tricky. Maybe you rated a Web site with a thumbs-up but then changed your mind. No problem -- just revisit that page and click the same thumbs-up button again. The color should change from either green (like) or red (dislike) to the unrated blue shade (neutral). If you're what's known as the discoverer of a Web site (i.e., the first person to have stumbled across it and rated it), then you may not be able to remove your rating. After other people add reviews, you stay in SU's database as the originator of that stumble.

We used Mozilla Firefox when accessing and exploring StumbleUpon. The Web site may look a little different than what's written here if you use a different Web browser, like Internet Explorer. For example, actions like deleting pages you've rated could prove a little trickier and you may not have as many options on your toolbar. Some Web browsers may offer a varied experience; others don't support StumbleUpon at all. Mozilla Firefox is a commonly used browser among stumblers.

We've explored the StumbleUpon toolbar and some of the basic terminology, but there's still more to learn before you can make full use of everything this online social network has to offer. Continue to the next page to learn about navigating through