social media

The future of Flipboard: fantastic or a flop?

Written by Matt Spencer
Flipboard, a cutting-edge delivery platform of news and features. Setting what you see and read, to what you actually want to see and read. It’s the advertisers dream.

Flipboard, a cutting-edge delivery platform of news and features. Setting what you see and read, to what you actually want to see and read. It’s the advertisers dream. We set out every personal detail and have each article customised as to where it shows up on the screen, or if it even shows up at all. We are in control of the news that we intake.
What is it?
If you’ve seen Anchorman 2, then this is the Ron Burgundy light bulb eureka moment. Giving the people what they want to see. Whether it’s cute fluffballs, sports highlights and car crashes, or financial climates, technological breakthroughs and the latest headlines.
Self-described as ‘your social network,’ this isn’t necessarily about what’s trending worldwide, it’s about what your trend is.
Setting it up as I type, Flipboard looks dynamic. It’s a simple layout, you link it up to your social networks, similar to plugging in to the wall for electricity, this app is fuelled by your online outlets. Choose from various interests, business, photography, travel etc.
That’s fast. I’ve got cover stories straight from the Huffington Post‘s style output, various technology blogs and a range of magazine suggestions catered to my interests. And it just keeps on going, each ‘flip’ on the screen a different media platform. Print, broadcast, pictures, words: it’s all there. The most adaptable magazine platform to date.
Forget the handbag-sized advertisement catalogues, this is straight in the pocket and ready to go. With the increasingly important ‘share’ feature being a big part of this – why read a full article when you can just click share and show your friends how culturally apt, diverse and in the know you are?
But will it take off? Apps come out by the second these days. Our consuming culture, ever looking for the easiest way to digest knowledge. Even so now without even reading it. Just sharing it around.
It’s a conversation for in the pub, that has now been replaced with the like of a post, or tag of that one friend from your school years that once showed interest in that TV show from the ’90s.
We’ve seen Marie Clare leading by example with the biggest flops of adapting to a changing social habitat. A considered ‘staple’ magazine in the UK, Marie Clare introduced itself late on in 1988, 75 years after the launch of the then ‘Dress and Vanity Fair.’ It’s seen a drop in print sales of 14 percent since 2009 to around 230,000. But with its changeover to online, only 1,764 readers felt the urge to subscribe.
The reason? Why pay for something that’s free at the touch of a button from thousands of other sites? Flipboard utilises that reasoning. It takes all of the online freebies, and groups them under one personal search engine.
Cutting out the middle man, which in this case, is the effort of having to actually search for what your interested in. It’s like having your own personal shopping assistant, but instead of clothes, it’s quirky little exerts of knowledge.
This comes at a time where magazines are now becoming the market leader for what daily readers want. Although most are only published weekly or monthly, magazines are at the forefront of gathering the largest audiences. Tesco showed us this in 2009 when it overtook the Sun‘s 7.1 million readership. The way for magazine readers to get around the weekly/monthly delay? Having an app that refreshes coverage by the minute, from thousands of sources.
Flipboard as an app itself might not catch on, but the need for fast-paced magazine platforms will. If the BBC can boast ‘updated every minute’ then why can’t Cosmo or Vogue?
Have you tried Flipboard? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Shardayyy / Flickr