One way of making a website more interactive and up-to-date is by pulling content from other, relevant sources. While content aggregation is one thing, adding a social dimension to content mash-ups will make things more interesting. Popular social bookmarking site StumbleUpon (news, site) has launched an application that makes such sharing of content easier through widgets.
Plug-and-Play Customization of Widgets
StumbleUpon's Widget Creator lets web authors display content from select sites, or from any topic on StumbleUpon, such as technology, business, entertainment and the like. Widgets -- working as boxes that can be added on a website's body or sidebar -- will also include content that a user "stumbles" upon using the service.
StumbleUpon Widgets display content from select sources
StumbleUpon's Widget Creator gives a range of customization options. You can change the widget's title. You can define the topics and sources of the headlines. You can also choose among different widget sizes (square, rectangle and tall rectangle are a few options). The widget sizes seem to be in sync with popular ad block sizes, which will make laying out the widgets easier on a site with existing provisions for ads.
Creating widgets is as easy as plugging in the options. Fill out a few lines of information and Widget Creator will give you a code you can copy and paste to your website's HTML code.
StumbleUpon widgets are a good way to interlink across websites. A content network, for instance, can use the widgets to showcase new content from the various sites within the network. Meanwhile, web publishers can also network with other website owners to form partnerships. Short of link exchanges, featuring others' websites on your StumbleUpon widget will ensure that each site gets only the freshest and most relevant content from the others.
While having traditional social bookmarking service features, StumbleUpon also offers the interesting feature of letting users "stumble" upon their contacts' bookmarks. The system is not totally random, as Stumbling involves a certain algorithm that determines the next site you are directed. This is based on your contacts, the bookmarks' popularity and ratings (like or dislike).
StumbleUpon's Widget Creator adds another dimension to Stumbling, and that is sharing your content outside of your network of friends, or to the public through your website. And because it's as easy as plugging in some information on the Widget Creator interface, even novice web publishers can manage adding a StumbleUpon widget to their sites.