The Internet, much like the universe as we know it, is a positively massive place of astronomical proportions. And just like the universe as we know it, the Internet is also constantly expanding. There’s new content being shared on new websites all the time, and it can feel increasingly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or the signal from the noise, if you prefer. And as a blogger and online content creator, you should be always on the lookout for new inspiration too.
For some time, StumbleUpon was one of the best places to seek out crowdsourced content at random. But as people shifted more of their attention toward other platforms like Twitter and even Pinterest, interest in StumbleUpon waned. Now that StumbleUpon is no more, where can you turn for some random inspiration or content to consume? Here are five alternatives to you might want to consider adding to your workflow.
This feels like the natural choice. When StumbleUpon shut down in 2018, it was officially replaced by Mix. The new website promises to show you “interesting content selected by friends and like-minded people.” This taps into the social aspect of the original StumbleUpon, but with more of a curation slant and less of a randomness.
To that end, Mix strives to show you content “matched to your interests, recommended by friends and community experts.” Once you join Mix and set up your account, and then the more and more you use the site, presumably the better your recommendations will be.
If you’re interested in the inherent randomness of the original StumbleUpon, then Discuvver might be more your kind of thing. Just be very careful about matching the stylized spelling of “discover,” as they’ve replaced the “O” with a “U” and doubled up on the “V.” It’s certainly unconventional in that sense.
You don’t need to have an account to use Discuvver. Just click on the green button on the homepage to “take me to a useful website.” And that’s the thing; it’s about websites and not specific articles, so you will need to do a bit of exploring on your own to find great content. In a few quick tests, I was sent to a website that helps you find a song in a movie, another that generates an HTML email signature, and one that functions as a live flight tracker. You can also opt into a mailing list to receive “useful websites in [your] inbox.”
In many ways, StumbleUpon and Digg were born out of the same era of online development. But the thing is that the Digg of old is not the same Digg that you find today. It’s become much less about people hoping to get their content “dugg” and to experience “the Digg effect.” There are still “diggs” to function as crowdsourced approval, but the highlighted content is subject much more to curation.
You can sift through the main content, as well as dig through sections on everything from science to Donald Trump, long reads to Digg originals. If you prefer, there’s even a section dedicated just to videos. This isn’t the Digg you used to know, and it’s not nearly as random, but maybe that’s a good thing.
Then again, if you feel like testing your luck, a site like UrlRoulette almost functions like a game of chance. First, you submit a URL of your own that you’d like to recommend to another UrlRoulette user. This could even be self-promotional, if you’d like. Second, you may need to pass a Captcha. And then finally, you are redirected to the URL submitted by the previous visitor to the site.
That’s it. The randomness can be both a pro and a con, since you have no real control for where you might end up. You also need to have a URL of your own to share, which also means that other users may not be submitting the best URLs themselves. There’s also a weekly digest with the top 10 submitted URLs, but you still won’t know what any of them are until you click on them.
Proudly proclaiming itself as the front page of the Internet, Reddit is a website that has miraculously withstood the test of time. While there have been some changes and optimizations over the years, the heart of Reddit has remained largely unchanged. You subscribe to the subreddits that interest you, community members submit content they think is worth checking out, and those posts get upvoted and downvoted accordingly. The best, as voted by the community, rises to the top.
So no, it’s not nearly as random as the stumble button on StumbleUpon, but it’s random insofar that hundreds of millions of users around the world are submitted seemingly random content from the web they think you should check out. And that’s a beautiful thing… and it can be a great source of traffic for bloggers and online content creators too.