I’ve been for a while a daily consumer of content through FlipBoard. I first downloaded it on to my iPad Mini around 3 years ago and have since found it an indispensable app to keep up with the information and news I want to follow. It helps that it’s also one of the best looking apps around for smartphones and tablets. Over time, the app allowed users to curate and publish, using the app, their own magazines.
I launched the Groundviews FlipBoard magazine in 2013, which to date remains the only media related magazine published out of Sri Lanka on the platform.
Also last year, I launched FlipBoard magazines around ICTs in peacebuilding and another on crisis mapping. Leading up to the International Crisis Mappers Conference 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya (ICCM), I created and formally launched at the event a FlipBoard magazine around Big Data, with a specific focus on the humanitarian and peacebuilding domains. These three magazines I curate on behalf of the ICT4Peace Foundation.
In March this year, I created and launched a FlipBoard magazine on the use of UAVs/drones in humanitarian relief and for non-lethal purposes. This also I curate on behalf of the ICT4Peace Foundation.
There are close to 2,000 subscribers in total for these magazines, which is indicative of the reach of the FlipBoard apps across multiple mobile platforms (it started off only on iOS) and also the interest in consumers to get their information and news presented in a visually compelling format. FlipBoard’s bookmarklet makes it easy to add content from the web as I am browsing – though what’s hardest is to keep in mind each magazine’s focus as I quickly go through pages on the web.
I’ve always been interested in the power of digital published, and design oriented platforms like FlipBoard (I’ve also toyed with OnSwipe some years ago) to take standard web fare to new audiences, and especially a younger demographic hooked to their mobile devices. While the metrics don’t allow me to ascertain whether those who read updates through FlipBoard on any of these magazines go on to visit the respective web post or web site, it is clear that using the app, consumers are making the choice to engage with web content in a particular way – perhaps because of the stylish presentation, perhaps because of the devices they use it on, perhaps because of the social sharing features now baked in, perhaps because they curate their own FlipBoard magazine, or perhaps because they just consume content differently.