Lucky strikes

12 August 2010 | This 'n' that

Stumbled upon: readers find Tommi Musturi's comic strip (June 10–June 18)

When Books from Finland was a printed journal, it was relatively easy to define its readership – now it is different: we are a part of the internet’s ecosystem, its surging and multifarious mass of knowledge.

Those who visit our pages may have the most diverse motives for wanting to read our articles – and they may travel surprising itineraries before arriving on Books from Finland’s pages, as we found out recently: StumbleUpon is still a fairly little-known service in Finland. Thus it took a while before we realised why so many of the comments about our piece on Tommi Musturi’s wordless comic strip, on colour and friendship, began with the words ‘I stumbled upon’…

The idea of StumbleUpon is simple: it filters and evaluates websites on the basis of the opinions of its members. It is, in other words, a social media application which is not used for traditional information-seeking, but instead answers the question, ‘What would I like to find today?’ On the basis of the user’s interests, the service suggests pages which the user, in turn, judges with an upturned thumb. A website may attract a significant number of visitors if it rises high on StumbleUpon’s list of recommendations.

This was the case with the piece on Tommi Musturi: during the course of a single day, it was read by thousands of people – and completely entangled our graph of visitor numbers!

Inspired by this, I signed up for StumbleUpon. The very first suggestion the site offered me was impressive: the real-time simulation page links the globes carbon dioxide emissions with birth- and death-rates. Did you know that Wikipedia has a list of the unsolved problems of philosophy?

Thumbs up, then, for Tommi, friendship and colours!

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