Flipboard recently announced the ability for anyone to become a publisher on their platform. Within two weeks 500,000+ magazines were created. I created one of those and I'd like to tell you why.
Before I do that though, let me tell you how you can get my Publishing 2020 magazine. Since Flipboard isn't available as a web-based app (which is a shame) I can't just embed a link to the magazine. Here's the link Flipboard provides, but it's nothing more than a short note saying my magazine exists and to download the Flipboard app and search for "Joe Wikert" to find it. That's not the best approach so let's hope they make it easier to share magazines down the road.
Now let's talk about "why." I've said before that I'm accessing my RSS feeds less and less. I switched from Google Reader to Zite for awhile but that wasn't always the best option either. I still love to see what others in the industry find interesting though, mostly by reading what they're reading.
Twitter kind of addresses this but I find it very difficult to focus on one person's point of view via tweets. It's everyone's stream of consciousness coming at you all at once. Even with the best filters in place it always feels like you're drinking from the fire hose. And every tweet has a shelf life of seconds at best. The Flipboard interface encourages a deeper dive and even though it's presenting much of the same information it doesn't come across as having a short shelf life.
As fun as it can be to abbreviate and get creative, Twitter's 140-character limit gets in the way at times, right? I see Flipboard magazines filling a nice, comfy space between Twitter and blogs. I read articles throughout the day and some of them are tweet-worthy. But the best deserve more commentary or context than I can squeeze into 140 characters. That's where a Flipboard magazine comes in. The majority of the articles I'm adding to my Publishing 2020 Flipboard magazine also include my thoughts about the piece. Annotations are an important element of the Flipboard magazine model but, unfortunately, the Flipboard user interface makes them hard to see. That's another item I hope Flipboard fixes in an app update.
My last point has to do with my addiction to the magazine called The Week. It's one of the last magazines I still subscribe to in print (mostly because it's not available as an Android app...yet). If you're not familiar with it, The Week aggregates the best news stories and adds some commentary. It's like reading the Cliffs Notes for all the major newspapers, magazines, and websites. I'd like to think that in some small way my Flipboard magazine is doing the same for the publishing industry.
My goal is to give the publishing community another resource for industry news and analysis, all delivered conveniently and elegantly via the Flipboard interface. I hope you'll sign up and let me know what you think. Also, if you feel I've overlooked an important article, send me a link so I can read and add it to the magazine.