The “stumble” button

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about digital rhetoric is both broad and boring: the internet. Obviously the internet is a form of digital rhetoric; it can only be accessed through a screen (thus, digital) and contains infinite written words, pictures, and other forms of communication (rhetoric). So I decided to pick another form of digital rhetoric, a website that causes me to waste too many hours of my day on the computer: StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is a website that helps people navigate through all the rhetoric that is the internet.

You must make an account (for free) and then the site asks its users to “favorite” different types of websites. Once you’ve told Stumbleupon about all of your favorites things, the stumbling begins. The website takes you to every kind of site you could possible imagine–from fashion to cooking to serial killers (my favorite, obviously). It makes the overwhelming internet a little more manageable by sorting through things you don’t like, and handing you the ones you do with the click of a “stumble” button.


My "interests" on StumbleUpon. These are the websites stumbleUpon takes me to when I press the "stumble" button
My “interests” on StumbleUpon

When I’m really bored, I’ll stumble through every single one of my 53 interests at random. If I’m in the mood for one particular topic, say fashion, I’ll just stumble through fashion websites. StumbleUpon is a double edged sword: I learn so much from browsing through its database but at the same time, every time I use it I feel myself becoming progressively lazier. It has everything right there! No search bars are necessary when all I have to do is click “stumble” and I can look at any website I want. Use stumbleUpon when you’re bored or when you want to learn something new. But trust me from personal experience, it is addicting.

3 thoughts to “The “stumble” button”

  1. Hi Emily,

    Nice post. I can’t say I stumbleupon myself, but I am interested with the idea of it being digital rhetoric. I’m wondering what type of digital rhetoric this is and what it means?

    Nice job.


  2. Hi Emily,

    I thought this was a really interesting post that touched upon a lot of the pros and cons of the internet. I think innately, we try and make the infinite information on the internet more manageable. StumpleUpon capitalized upon this desire for organization and also created a sense of community upon people on the website. To me, this is why the website has been so successful.

    Ironically, it creates a sense of disorder in its efforts to consolidate the internet. It creates a false sense of knowing everything when really the internet is too vast to ever truly complete this task. It is interesting to observe different people’s mechanisms to contain and personalize the vast space of digital rhetoric that the internet is.

    Thanks for this interesting post!

  3. I think it’s interesting that the internet is so big that we’ve created sites just to summarize certain topics. I follow Reddit pretty religiously, which is similar to StumbleUpon. It gets to a point where we can’t possibly keep up to date on all the internet content across our favorite topics, so we have to prioritize our time. StumbleUpon sounds like it allows you to filter your internet content to only focus on what you’re interested in which is awesome. Although, I’m not sure if this would save you time or just suck you in more.

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