It’s a rare thing. Normally, when a social media site makes major changes, users hate the changes. That’s actually universal – it would be hard to find a site that made major changes that wasn’t met with anything other than absolute disdain from the users.
Facebook faces it all the time but has the clout to not be affected. Smaller sites like MySpace, Digg, Propeller, and Delicious faced tremendous push back from users after major changes. Some didn’t survive. Others may die sooner than later.
StumbleUpon’s changes have been met with mixed reactions, but compared to other sites making changes at the degree they have, this has been a hugely successful transition. There will always be users who have issues, but this particular batch of changes – the first in nearly a decade – are pushing the site in a positive direction.
There’s a new focus on mobile beyond anything else. This is smart, of course, because they see the writing on the wall that people really want everything to be accessible and easily usable from mobile devices when it comes to social media.
Their business element is enhanced. Now, they have “Channels” that better highlight their partner sites. This is an extremely important element because giving large brands the ability to acquire followers and have their content stumbled directly will help promote the value that SU brings to the table.
Channels aren’t just about big brands or large publications. Celebrities have channels as well. From Jim Carrey to Gary Vaynerchuk, StumbleUpon people channels offer a limited but diverse range of people who may be interesting to stumblers.
The profile pages are completely different. They announced that they would be pulling down content over a month ago, which for those using StumbleUpon as a blog (yes, there were a few) it is a disappointment, but overall it makes for a much cleaner look and interface. One omission that we don’t like – profile visitors. You used to be able to see who’s clicking on your profile. That feature is gone.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction for StumbleUpon, a company that has stayed below the radar considering that they send more traffic on a regular basis to websites across the internet than Facebook. We’ll see if this is enough to bring them more into the mainstream spotlight.
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Read more about StumbleUpon on this Social Media Blog.