Experimenting with Flipboard Magazine

Flipboard has long been a favorite application for my iOS devices, so when the creators of Flipboard announced a new feature that allowed me to create and manage my own magazine a few months back, I was immediately on board. I created the Family Man Librarian Daily (hey, couldn’t think of a more creative title at the time…).

Since then, I have continued to experiment with this new functionality. A few weeks ago, a new feature was added to allow me as the magazine “editor” to see basic use information (see Flipboard’s blog post for more detail). I learned, for example, that I already have seven readers. (That surprises and pleases me, I guess because I have such low expectations.) Some other metrics I now can track include number of page flips (not sure what to make of that one yet), and number of articles I’ve shared in my magazine (355 to date).

All of this is well and good, but there are a few things I’d like to see added to the service. First, I think it is absolutely vital that the creators of Flipboard tweak the service to allow the editor(s) to annotate articles. By that I mean, provide some editorial comment or blurb, if the editor so chooses, to add value to why a particular article was selected for inclusion in the magazine. This saves the time of the reader, most of whom juggle lots of things to read and have other things competing for their attention. Allowing me as the editor of Family Man Librarian Daily, for example, to highlight aspects of the article that stand out to me for my readership would be very beneficial.

The other main enhancement I’d like to see is probably more difficult to achieve. Essentially, the ability to quickly and easily add content to a Flipboard magazine needs to become as ubiquitous as possible. As ubiquitous, for example, as the ability to share stuff with Twitter, Facebook, and Google +. Flipboard’s creators have already made good strides on this front by supporting a bookmarklet (the +FlipIt function) for browsers, and of course it’s particularly easy to add content to a magazine right from within Flipboard itself. But I am rather omnivorous in my information consumption. I find things in all different places and using a wide variety of browsers, access mechanisms, and so on. I already find the capability to share things to my Flipboard magazine to be very limited.

I’ve even experimented with installing BlueStacks on my MacBook Pro as a way to see if I can consistently use Flipboard (for Android) within my information consumption workflow to add in stuff to my magazine more readily. It’s a rather clunky method, I’m afraid, but I will continue to experiment with it.

Overall, it’s been a fun and interesting process!

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