Since its launch in December 2010, Flipboard has been the darling of early adopters, bringing Web-based content in a beautiful way to tablets - and harnessing the power of iPads to re-unite magazine-length stories with magazine-like readability.
It seems like a no-brainer, but years of desktop-based content had slowly divorced long-form writing from a pleasant, page-turning experience into mouse-clicking, bar-scrolling drudgery cluttered with ads that no one ever clicked through. We almost forgot what reading used to feel like until Flipboard brought it back to us with the added bonuses of interactivity, customization and the crowd-sourcing power of our social networks.
The full extent of Flipboard’s potential impact on tablet sales, ad revenue and online magazine subscriptions has only just begun to be explored. Flipboard has only recently launched versions for the Android and iPhone/iTouch markets, and now with the release of the Microsoft tablet, there is real potential for Flipboard’s platform to change how and what we read.
A few pundits are even betting that Flipboard could compete with Google Search as the go-to destination for online information - a tall order for a platform that is not yet a market mainstay, which is a step below “game-changer,” which is itself a step below “giant killer,” which is what it would need to be to challenge Google.
Still, questions remain. Although Flipboard launched paid ad content with Conde Nast in 2011, by April 2012, other publications like The Economist considered Flipboard to be a competitor for ad revenue, even though The Economist is an official Flipboard partner. The catch is that The Economist only shares its Web content with Flipboard users, not its exclusive print stories.
If you’re new to Flipboard, you can download it free for your iPad, Android tablet or even your Phone. Here's a highly subjective list of the top 10 feeds for exploring what it can do to media.
Twitter - Looking at your Twitter feed, you see people posting stories important to them that appear as shortened URLs that, if clicked, take you another browser window or tab. Sure, it works but - yawn! With Flipboard, those links come to life as genuine stories that you can see at a glance. Plus, Flipboard allows you to filter Twitter-based content from your feed, from lists or from hashtags to allow all sorts of flexibility. Try it before Twitter shuts it down.
Facebook - Anyone with Facebook and Twitter accounts understands the inherent distinctions between these two, but the short version is that Twitter is an outward-facing network and Facebook is inward-facing: a collection of your friends, relatives and acquaintances, many of whom use Facebook to share news stories that they find important. With Flipboard, those stories shared on Facebook become a living magazine. Perhaps not quite as versatile as Twitter on Flipboard, but there is one unique feature for Facebook on Flipboard that could be addictive: turning your tablet into a magazine filled with all the Facebook photos in which you’ve been tagged.
Google Reader - If you use Google’s news aggregator to keep track of the news you find important, Google Reader is increasing its Flipboard functionality with the release of Flipboard for Android and the soon-to-launch integration with Google+ and its +1 sharing feature.
Gogobot - One of Time’s top sites of 2011, travel site Gogobot has used its strengths in its transition to Flipboard. Gogobot’s best features - its social media integration and instant postcard generator - are perfect for the Flipboard platform.
The Atlantic Wire - This Web-based news feed gives you news headlines curated by the the people who brought you the Atlantic Monthly (which is also optimized for Flipboard). This is one of cleanest, sharpest news aggregators on the web, and now it’s on your tablet with Flipboard.
Your blog - Check your web metrics, and without a doubt a growing number of your blog’s readers are coming to you through Flipboard. Of course, you better be aware of how you look to Flipboard readers by consuming your self-generated online content from Flipboard as well.
National Geographic - This gold-spined periodical was once the king of all magazines, saved on shelves with the reverence of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Of course, those days are gone, but Flipboard has brought back the “wow factor” to National Geo, returning the readability to the long articles and providing a perfect platform for the magazine’s second-to-none photography of the natural world.
The New Yorker - While the entire Conde Nast stable of magazines - Vanity Fair, Wired, Traveller, etc - have all been optimized for Flipboard, none have the same revolutionary effect as The New Yorker, for a simple reason: since the invention of the Internet, the New Yorker has resisted altering its age-old image for the sake of the web, resulting in a web presence that was never optimal. But now, on Flipboard, The New Yorker’s black-and-white look, long-form journalism, and line-drawing cartoons about psychotherapy and dinner parties suddenly have a new life.
Latina - Launched in 1996 as a magazine aimed by bi-lingual and bi-cultural American women, Latina Magazine continues to publish its print edition while branching out into the digital world. Now, the most popular periodical aimed at Hispanic American women, Latina has been optimized for Flipboard, which shows the foresight of its editorial board and the growing diversity of the digital content universe.
Vice - Speaking of diverse digital content, Vice magazine has long ago built itself a reputation as being on top of some of the dirtiest, drug-addled stories in journalism. Many have often wondered how they manage to make their deadlines amid the steady party that has come to define this Montreal-to-NYC lifestyle magazine for hipsters, drug users and drug-using hipsters. But hey, Vice is now optimized for Flipboard, and if you don’t check in with Vice’s running feature of its Fashion Do’s and Don’ts, then you haven’t optimized your online content intake.
Did we miss one of your favorites? Leave it in the comments.