Posted by Jesse Braunstein

Every once in a while, someone comes up with an idea that allows us to kill a TREMENDOUS amount of time.

When my Dad was a kid, back in the late 60’s and early 70’s (sorry for that Dad), they had comic books and GI JOE’s. Today, for better or worse, we’ve made our way from the “life-like hair” of the GI JOE, and “Captain America’s shield” to FarmVille and Twitter feeds.

But my own time waster of choice is StumbleUpon.

Now, before I even try and make amends for calling StumbleUpon a huge “time waster”, please allow me to explain what StumbleUpon is and why you need to make an account, as soon as you finish reading this post.

StumbleUpon was founded back in 2001 and is based on a concept, much different from that of other Social Media services.

Instead of developing a source, where users would need to be entertained and hooked in, by the content created specifically for the site; (like YouTube), StumbleUpon sets itself apart in an ingenious way:

StumbleUpon is solely a platform for content already on the internet.

With its sparsely minimalistic design, StumbleUpon relies entirely on the world of content sharing already developed and now, part and parcel with the World Wide Web.

When you make an account, simply enter a number of different things you are interested in, in the “Interests” section. I recommend doing this first step carefully and conscientiously, that way StumbleUpon will really be able to provide you with content you’re interested in viewing. Some of my 29 interests are: “Entrepreneurship”, “Neuroscience”, “Technology”, “Counterculture”, and “Music”.

Then hit “Stumble Your Interests” and the site will give you a page that adheres to those interests.

From there, you can either jump to another page, via the handy “Stumble!” button at the top left of the StumbleUpon bar, now at the top of your browser, like or dislike the page, so that the software will learn more about your preferences, or share it on other social media sites and then “Stumble!” again.

So while GI JOE’s are still undeniably awesome, the ingenuity of StumbleUpon is clear in that it is anchored, on the human fondness, to share things we enjoy (being generous).

Now after this has all been said, you may begin to understand why I began this post with the slightly morose and ironic title “StumbleUpon: Top Time Killer”.

But, to be fair, this title requires some elucidation.

Although I do see StumbleUpon chiefly as an excellent way to waste time away on the internet when people are bored, as evidenced by my “Clock’s Ticking, So Maximize Your Time” post; I don’t really believe in wasting time.

So, you may ask; why would I write an article on StumbleUpon in the first place?

The answer is simple.

The power of the algorithm lies in the choices you make as you choose your own personal interests. If you make them completely nonsensical such as “Celebrities” or “Television”, you really will learn very little.

But on the flipside, if you are able to set your interests to things you are interested in learning more about, StumbleUpon is by far the most powerful self- education tool available today…and it’s free!

Jesse Braunstein is a Junior at NYU double majoring in Economics and Psychology. Jesse joined Madison Technology and in May 2011 as a summer intern. Jesse has been instrumental in utilizing his expanding background to come up with creative perspectives on the Marketing, Advertising and Business Development initiatives at both Madison Technology and Jesse’s outlook stems from an Economics and Psychology education and a deep understanding of the individual and how the individual acts within and interacts with the market.  Follow Jesse on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his