There has been some great analysis of StumbleUpon top users and of the StumbleUpon algorithm, but there has been little examination of the relationship between StumbleUpon users and their friends. After coming across interesting complex data visualization tools we wanted to visualize the stumblesphere of top users.
“Data visualization is the new rock and roll”. Hmm, ok, maybe that’s a bit much, but data visualization tools can certainly help to make complex data easier to understand. After seeing some pretty impressive data visualizations of social networks for Last.fm and Scouta, it occurred to us that it might be interesting to try and visualize the StumbleUpon network.
We’re still getting to grips with more complex tools, but using the excellent Many Eyes tools by IBM, we were able to examine the relationships between top StumbleUpon users and their friends. We decided to look at StumbleUpon top users because we hadn’t seen a visualization of the top users network before, but you can use the ManyEyes tool to look at your own relationships in social networks. Here are just a few benefits of visualizing your own social circle:
BENEFITS OF VISUALIZING A NETWORK
See a network as a whole
It’s much easier to see how a network interacts as a whole when you can visualize it.
Relationships are much easier to spot
t’s much easier to spot mutual friends and other connections you may have with people.
Makes you think differently
A visualization of a social network makes you see the world in a different way. It’s easier to reflect on the nature of your relationships with people when you see it mapped out in front of you.
You don’t need to be a scientist
Traditionally you would probably need some computer skills or a scientific background to be able to visualize data. While some tools have quite a steep learning curve, we found Many Eyes to be very easy to use and it proves that you can
If you click below you can see the StumbleUpon top users network for yourself. If you use StumbleUpon, try to see if you can spot yourself on there.
- All the data was taken on March 1st 2008 so there could have be a few changes to the top 40 over the last few days.
- It wasn’t possible to look at two of the top 40 profile pages as StumbleUpon said these accounts were due to be deleted.
- The ManyEyes tool allows you to use the data that we’ve collected. If you do decide to use the data for any purpose then leave a link in a comments section and we’ll add it to the page.
Top 38 Users
OBSERVATIONS ON TOP STUMBLERS
In theory, it should be easier to identify potential influencers on StumbleUpon using this data.So lets look at two different StumbleUpon users, BlackLotus90 and SvetlanaG. BlackLotus90 was on the top stumblers list when the data was collected and SvetlanaG wasn’t. Lets look at SvetlanaG’s friends network and see how you don’t need to be a top stumbler to be influential:
SvetlanaG was not on the top users list when we collected the data. When you look at the picture, the larger the circle is, the more friends that user has. So you can see that SvetlanaG is friends with 5 top users (1 user is missing from this picture, but you can check for yourself)
Compare this to BlackLotus90 who is a top StumbleUpon user. As we can see from the picture below, he isn’t linked to any other top user.
Does this mean that BlackLotus90 is less influential than SvetlanaG because he doesn’t know as many top stumblers? In theory, it does, but the closeness of the connections matters more than the number of connections. You could make friends with all the top users but if you have nothing in common it’s really a pointless exercise. It’s far better to become StumbleUpon friends with people who share similar interests to you and try to make genuine lasting connections.
After examining the data, I agree with this article on DoshDosh that breaking into the top stumblers list shouldn’t be your main goal. Work on building up lasting relationships instead.
Quality content correctly tagged will eventually send you traffic anyway.The benefits of StumbleUpon are not in the traffic it can send but in the connections you make.
Despite this, obviously some people are competitive by nature and want to break into the top users list. If you’re more competitive than Rocky, and you want to be a top StumbleUpon user then the following tips will help you:
Be the first to stumble quality content
Being the first to stumble a page that subsequently becomes popular is more likely to help you become a top stumbler than having lots of friends, reviews and fans.
Only stumble quality content
Trying to frantically stumble any post you see won’t make you a top stumbler and isn’t necessary. Just use StumbleUpon to submit quality articles that you think people might like to read. This will make your own StumbleUpon experience more enjoyable as you’ll only be shown pages you actually have an interest in.
You don’t need lots of friends, fans or reviews
There were some people on the top stumblers list with fewer than 10 friends and not very many reviews of their page. If the top users list is based on anything, then the number of friends, fans or reviews of your page don’t appear to play a very important role in becoming a top stumbler.
Anyway, don’t concentrate on trying to become a top stumbler, just have fun and make some friends!
We’re still getting to grips with some other data visualization software and we’ll be following up with some more detailed analysis of networks over the next few weeks. Signup for our RSS feed if you want to keep updated.
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