Flipboard-Is Fantastic or a Flop?

This week, I’m going to be taking an in-depth look at Flipboard. While it’s not technically a social network, it deserves a closer look. It’s name sounds straightforward, however, it’s history is anything but. Allegedly, this app launched way back in 2010, but I have only been aware of it for the past three years.

Essentially, the app is a virtual bulletin board that carries news stories from various sources, catered to your interests. The home page is very clean and polished, and gives you “News” first.

Once the user hits the main story, they are taken directly to it within the app. In this case, the story about the Trump and Cruz mudslinging story came from NBC, which is credited in the top right of the page.

If you scroll down a bit, there will be the next category. In my case, business was the second category I chose, so that’s what popped up. This process will repeat for each category you subscribed to (there’s plenty for anyone).

Once you get through the “top story” for each subcategory of news, the feed resets. This time, you get three or 4 stories for each category.

First, I’ll highlight the things that I find great about the program. for one, it is extremely user friendly. Set-up takes about half a minute, and you don’t even need to make an account (although I’d recommend it, because you can save articles). Flipping and scrolling are “natural” features to everyone with an smartphone, and Flipboard utilizes it to perfection.

I’m going to go on a sidebar real quick while I’m talking about smartphones. On my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and other Android devices, Flipboard comes pre-installed under the name “Briefing”. It is absolutely identical to Flipboard, and to access it, users simply have to swipe to the right when looking at the home screen. Pretty cool feature.

Lastly, people love customization. Being able to pick categories that peak their own interest gives readers somewhat of an investment in the app. It makes it personable, which is one thing news has been trying to figure out how do do more and more. In addition, the app gathers news from a seemingly endless array of sources, which saves the user a bunch of work searching different sites or scrolling through twitter until they find a similar article.

Now it’s time for me to talk about the negatives. First of all, you can only view 4 stories in each tab at a time. Granted, the tabs get updated very frequently, but what if a user wanted to scroll through a couple dozen stories to see if there was anything that peaked their interest? There’s nothing here that would allow them to do that.

Honestly, that’s all I got in terms of negatives. All alliteration aside… Flipgram is definitely fantastic. For the casual reader, it it nearly a perfect app. It allows customization, boasts a slick interface, and lets users to share stories to their social media pages straight from the app. While next to nothing can be perfect, Flipboard comes pretty close for an app attempting to re-define the people search for news content.