It’s almost exactly a year since StumbleUpon announced the changes that killed it.
I remember the outpourings of disbelief and grief that ricocheted around the world as people finally began to believe the rumours - and the people who started them.
I was an early critic of the way SU was deteriorating, and I saw the writing on the wall a lot sooner than most, so I was (in some ways) better prepared for the end of SU as we knew it. Being forewarned bought me no joy, though.
As SU went downhill, people desperately hoped that appeals and protests would change the outcome. With all the best intentions in the world, no amount of user dissatisfaction was ever going to make any difference. Staff members at SU no longer cared about individual stumblers, nor did they want to encourage any kind of community participation. The people who built the database, the contributors and the curators had become too expensive to cater to; and so the blogging aspects and the personal interactions were decimated.
I have no idea just how many people lost their connections and their online social lives as a result of the demise of SU. Some made the switch to other blogging platforms, but some were so discouraged that they just gave up. There are a handful of people I’ve kept in contact with, and for that I’m grateful. There are some I loved dearly who have disappeared without a trace, and I miss them very much.
There’s no equivalent to SU anywhere else now, because the internet is a much bigger and much less personal place than it was in those halcyon days. Even the stumblers we all loved to hate, at least had some personality and individuality. They might have been bitches and assholes, but at least they were entertaining!
That’s something sadly lacking on other platforms, where all I see is endless ‘likes’, ‘reblogs’, ‘reposts’ ‘repins’ and recycling…and not much by way of personal comment or opinion.
Intellectually, I am aware that StumbleUpon still exists. The only evidence I have (because I haven’t used it for nearly a year) is that this tumblog gets regular visits from Stumbleupon in S.F. Other than that, StumbleUpon doesn’t rate as a web presence.
Physically, it ceased to be part of my life when I deleted my account at the end of last year.
Emotionally, I miss it. I think I always will.