Should you stumble yourself?

A few days ago Susan Gunelius from Women On Business wrote a post on BloggingTips called ‘Paying for Diggs and Stumbles‘ The post talked about a new site called Subvert & Profit, a site where you can pay for diggs and stumbles, and spoke about whether this kind of thing was good for bloggers.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of social networking. Digg has been gamed as long as I can remember and I’ve never found it to be a useful site. On the other hand StumbleUpon is a service I do use from time to time, not on a regular basis but when I’ve struggled for ideas for a blog post in the past I’ve found it really good at finding articles on a given subject.

Manipulating social networks is not a new phenonemom however I’ve certainly read a lot of articles about it recently. For example, today Aaron Stannard wrote a post on his blog entitled ‘Is Shameless Self-Promotion Using Social Networks Acceptable?‘. Regular Blogging Tips author Andy MacDonald had sent Aaron about 5 stumble requests via StumbleUpon and Aaron wasn’t sure if requesting stumbles for your own posts was ok ie. is it right to ask people your own posts?

Is it wrong to vote for your own blog posts?

From my own point of view, I’ve yet to ask anyone to stumble or vote for a post of mine however I have stumbled 2 or 3 other bloggers posts because they asked me too via msn messenger. I don’t have a particularly strong opinion of this if I’m honest. I do believe that when a social network is gamed, even if the gaming is as small as voting for a friends website, the value of the social network is reduced.

However, ultimately, every social network is gamed and there is no way round it. Website owners will always look at ways to gain traffic to their site and taking advantage of the traffic social networks have makes a lot of sense, even to myself and I don’t really use them. Whilst I don’t ask for votes myself, it would be very hypocritical of me to criticize anyone who has done so since I happily stumbled posts for friends when requested (one particular blogger only seems to message me to ask for a stumble!).

Was Andy wrong to request a stumble?

Back to Aaron’s post about shameless promotion via social networks, I came across this post tonight via the incoming links section of the BloggingTips dashboard (he had linked to Susan’s post) and took an interest in it because of the subject, the fact he linked to my blog and because the main focus of the post was in response to Andy’s request of Stumble’s (as I mentioned before Andy is a regular writer for my blog).

Andy’s a top bloke though I probably side more with Aaron on this subject in that I don’t ask for stumbles and agree that this is a problem which will reduce the usefulness of StumbleUpon. That being said, I don’t think that I would go as far as calling it shameless. At the end of the day bloggers with new blogs are in a poor position with regards to promoting their site. A blog with 50 subscribers could spend 10 hours writing an in depth post and get next to no traffic to it because their blog is relatively new : who can blame someone in that position for trying to get some extra traffic to their blog. This blog currently has between 10 and 20 subscribers on average so most posts I write are not even being read so I can fully appreciate the urge to ask friends to vote on a post.

I have to admit I did have a giggle when I read Aaron’s disclosure at the end of his post, particularly after he wrote so strongly about requesting stumble’s being wrong.

*Disclosure: I’ve sent Stumble requests to some of my friends before when I thought that they would be legitimately interested in what I had to say, but I don’t do it often.I haven’t even used the service much in 2008.

* For the record, both Andy and Aaron have been writing some great posts on their blog recently. You should check them out :

Aarons site : Marketing Ninja
Andy’s site : Swift Media UK

So is it wrong to ask for a stumble?

As I said before, whilst I don’t do it myself I have no major problems with those who do.

What do you think, Is it wrong to ask friends to vote for your blog posts?