What’s one of the biggest inconveniences of mass data streams? The answer is in the question. Arguably, many of us are vexed by how time consuming it is to browse through all our social outlets. Simply, who has the time? And by the time you’re done with it, you’ve sometimes spent upwards of 2 hours depending on how large your network is – not to mention having been pulled in different directions resembling a mental Rack that mirrors its medieval counterpart.
If you’re an Apple or Android user you’re privy to Flipboard, a social-network aggregation App that presents relevant streams in an easy to digest magazine format. Flip takes content from your social media streams plus other oft-read websites and creates a custom magazine for your convenience. It even inserts your preferred YouTube content into your page, so that video becomes part of your social magazine. In a strangely Harry Potteresque way, your print news content is now “live” and just as easy to absorb as if you were watching it on TV. You can even navigate YouTube through it, which should be a sign for many small business owners who still discount the power of video.
Of course, Flipboard isn’t completely flawless. It’s still a relatively new idea, which itself doesn’t say much since many apps are all relatively new ideas. However, Flipboard is currently facing a few kinks – one of which is discord with some publishers. True, Flipboard recently announced full integration with The New York Times, and 15 publishers are happily publishing with and selling ad space with Flipboard. So who isn’t happy with Flipboard?
The New Yorker and Wired, both belonging to Conde Nast. Now rather than content streaming fluidly, readers will have to opt in for a familiar “read more” lead that directs them back to the host site. Readers won’t be pleased with the longer load time and stream of ads – or the fact that multimedia content will suffer tremendously.
The move is purely profit-based, of course. Publishers stand to make more via ad space off their own websites. Truth be told, they’re also scared of losing readership to more efficient content systems like Flipboard. The lesson here for publishers isn’t to take their ball home so no one can play but to improve their game. Serious publishers need to be employing developers to create or integrate their own user-friendly yet still fiercely competitive systems, otherwise they stand to lose ground.
I predict Flipboard users will continue to use the app, more publications will be lining up to team up with Flipboard and users (of whom only a few select are notorious loyalists) will simply discard publications that can’t keep up with the demand. After all, even my own favorite publications couldn’t keep my interest if load time increased and my own time was wasted by intrusive ads; I’ll find an alternative publication that offers similar news without the fuss.
On the other hand, some outside sources are recommending that Flipboard beef up publisher services by making the process easier for them, including setting clearer parameters between Flipboard ads and publisher ads.
So what’s the other trend that you can pull from Flipboard? The answers are twofold and reflect what we here at Benchmark have already been discussing as trending topics for some time, namely 1) the rise of the social web, and 2) the increase in digital magazines.
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