How I learned to stop worrying and love Social Media. The Authors Collection.

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During the mid to late eighties, I took a break from the practice of pharmacy and sold life insurance for New York Life Insurance Company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We used computers every day and our trainer noticed that I had an affinity for them. I even took a night class at L.S.U. in basic programming.  He stopped by my office one day with a floppy disk in his hand and ask if I would like to try a new program. Our company had been offered the opportunity to test a new venture co-sponsored by IBM and Sears.  It was called Prodigy. They also supplied a dial up modem.

FCEtier, author and artist
FCEtier, author and artist

I agreed and so entered the world of e-mail and online adventures including shopping. Bulletin boards where you could post comments and join in discussions were the precursor to chat rooms, all of which evolved into FaceBook and numerous other sites known now as social media. Thirty years of dabbling with e-mail and numerous sites of personal interest, such as football officiating sites, has brought me to a point where I can now share some of my experiences.  Not as an expert, not by any means. But simply as someone who has tried a lot of different networking tools and knows enough about them to be dangerous.

In March of 2007 my wife and I rented a booth in a local consignment shop and my photography began to sell. I was no longer an amateur. At about that same time, I became interested in and active on FaceBook. It seemed like a natural for making contacts. Selling any product is a numbers game and it’s always a good bet to rely on big numbers, especially when you’re counting available prospects. Also, every group on FaceBook is a nest of people with something in common. If one buys, you’re in like Flint.

Then I was invited to a cocktail party. You’ve been to those haven’t you? You carry a drink around, visit small groups of people for a brief visit, and move to another area of the party venue. Keep moving, keep talking, and meet new people. Everyone is a prospect. Everyone knows someone else who could very well be a prospect.  The cocktail party was Twitter.

For six years now, I’ve been joining groups, meeting people, and building a network. In 2007, it never occurred to me that I might one day become a published author. Now, when I get a new connection on Twitter, I send them a thank you note and tell them right up front, “I use Twitter to promo my photog and novels.” Then I give them a link where they can see my work.

There’s a problem with a lot of social media outlets — especially FaceBook and Twitter.  The effectiveness of a single contact is very short lived. You have to continue to revisit those groups and social gatherings to have any impact.

TheTouristKiller-3dLeft-245x300Until I found out about StumbleUpon. SU is a different kind of social media venture. The link to your blog/article/web site or whatever you’re promoting has a much longer life on The site’s main purpose is to find people interested in your link and put it in front of them. Visitors to the SU site simply click the “Stumble” button and bam! They get a fresh batch of sites for their chosen categories.

Suppose you sell purple and gold polka dot widgets.

You post a link to your site and pick the obviously significant tag words.

Now, when a visitor to the SU site who likes purple, clicks the “Stumble” button, you link has a good chance of landing on their computer screen in front of them. Same thing with,  gold, polka dots, and widgets. Get the picture? Apply the same logic to boomer lit, thrillers, murder, or your favorite genre of reading material. The chances of your link getting more exposure increases with popularity. The more visitors who click the “Thumbs UP” button on your page, the more likely it is that still more readers will see your material.

Ready to put StumbleUpon to work for you?

Herewith is the first in a series of articles in which I divulge my experiences and help you learn how to use StumbleUpon.

The first step is easy and the most important.

You have to sign up. Not signing up is like praying to win the lottery without purchasing a ticket.

Visit, The opening page offers several ways to join. If you are already on FaceBook or Twitter, you can join via those sites. It is also easy to join SU directly, which is my choice. For online security, I like separate passwords for each site. I’ve had my identity stolen once and that was enough.

Sign up.

Select a screen name and a password.

Notice in the attached screen print of my home page, to the right is a button labeled, “Add Interest.” I put a red “2” pointing to it. A few of my interests that are visible on this shot include, travel, arts, literature, military, and American football.

Start there. Add a few interests.

Now, click on either of the red “Stumble” buttons. I labeled one of them with the number “1” and you’ll find the other at the top between two little thumbs pointing up and down.

While you’re waiting on the second article in this series of blogs on how I use StumbleUpon, take some time and get acquainted with the home page. Experiment navigating the site. Click on a few of the articles and while you’re there, give them a thumbs up vote.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section and look up my profile on SU if you like. Here’s my link:

Till next time, “Thumbs UP!”

Please click the book cover to read more about FCEtier’s novel on Amazon. 


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  • The problem with social media is that it is a daily grind. It beats you down. There is never any end in sight. Yet, to build name, brand, and book, it is an absolute necessity for writers. I am delighted to see the series on StumbleUpon. It is the best indicator of how a writer is doing, yet it can be a demon to figure out for those who were not born in a digital world.

    • It’s like a never ending cocktail party. It goes better with a drink in your hand.

      • Two drinks in both hands! But what I take away from your excellent post is something I hadn’t realized until you pointed it out: that traces of your post remain longer on SU than on Twitter or Facebook. And that it is more targeted: it draws the attention of people with shared interests.

        My question: how much longer? I know that impressions on Twitter from a tweet will last a couple of hours then disappear under the torrent of tweets, making Twitter the most superficial SM of them all: easiest to use but possibly most useless in terms of impact. Facebook I assume is longer but for example, an author’s page has now become a ridiculous game with authors “liking” authors when in fact what an author wants is to be liked by readers!! This means that you are NOT reaching your readers through your author page: too many of the “likes” are from other authors like you seeking recognition for their own work and hence not remotely interested in yours…A fool’s game that makes us waste a lot of energy as Caleb so rightly points out…

        My biggest gripe with SU is that no one seems to follow me (very few anyway) or look at the stuff I put up whenever it happens to be my own (say my blog posts) whereas if I “stumble” something else (as they recommend, one shouldn’t spam them with one’s own stuff, fair enough), then it obviously tends to be a piece that is already viewed by lots of people beside myself (say a piece on the UK Guardian or the BBC or whatever). Then when I check later to see how all my “stumbles” are faring, I find such broadly viewed pieces are getting even more views, while my own sit there looking forlorn with maybe just one or two peeks. Mind you, I always use tags carefully, I’m well aware the SU uses interest categories… So what am I doing wrong on SU?? I’ve been a member for the past two years and cannot figure out how the site can ever work for me. As a reader, it’s fine, it’s fun to “stumble” and find new posts…Is that what one should do? Find posts that one is interested in, go over and comment, making thus new connections and new friends? Perhaps that is the best way to use SU!

        Can’t wait to read the rest of your series!

        • I’ve got two more articles already in Caleb’s hands with answers to several of your questions.
          Next article tomorrow, Sunday.
          All your questions will eventually be covered.
          One quick suggestion though. Think about the “Boomer Lit” groups on FB & Goodreads. We need to encourage every member in each group to involved on SU and to follow each other.
          Also, one article will be devoted to getting more followers on SU.
          Thanks for your interest and questions.

  • Thanks so much for running this series on StumbleUpon, FC. Caleb calls it a demon to figure out for those not born in a digital world, and I heartily agree.

    With the right tools, I understand Twitter. I’m getting the hang of Facebook. StumbleUpon is still a mystery. But I’m housebroken and trainable! Bring it on…

    • Love to work with someone who is “trainable.” Thanks for reading and for trying my suggestions!

  • I’m in the learning stages with StumbleUpon, but impressed so far. I also think Triberr is good. Lots to learn, that’s for sure.

    • Darlene,
      I’m certain there’s more to SU than I’ve figured out so far, but hopefully I can catch everyone up to the point where you can consistently get more page views. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Cindy Amrhein ( HistorySleuth)

    You told me before to try this so this time I might if you go through it. I don’t have time to stumble through it myself right now as I’m busy revamping my historians organizations website. BUT if you do a step by step it could be doable. Will you be posting these on a regular basis?

    • Yes, Cindy.
      And all the articles will be archived here for future reference.
      You can join the party anytime!
      Thanks for the question.

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