My thoughts on Flipboard

First it was Robert Scoble late last week announcing an earth shattering product that will change the way social media and the internet were viewed (but he was under NDA so he couldn't elucidate). Then the tweets started rolling around 8pm on Tuesday about this new thing called Flipboard. I googled flipboard and found numerous references to a prop for skatr boyz and a link or two about the real company, Here is the first video that most of us saw on the product:

The problem was, it would not be released until midnight California time. I am on the east coast and I wasn't about to wait until 3am to download a cool program, so off to bed I went.

By 7am the next morning, the internets were all a-twitter (yes, pun was severely intended.) I found a few posts about @flipboard so I clicked on over and followed them. I was #105. Cool. I then went to iTunes and loaded the app on my iPad. Cooler. Then I tried to set up my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Not so cool. Seems that Flipboard had been "Scobled". This is a phenomenon where the aforementioned Robert Scoble hypes (the word hype being used in a good way) a product and then when it is released, it explodes.

This Scolbe phenomenon most recently occurred with a product called Soluto which got severely hammered after Robert mentioned it and it took about a week for them to recover. I even sent the guys at Soluto a tweet and they replied:

By the end of the day they had over 6,000 followers (remember, it only runs on an iPad, not the iPhone or iPod Touch.)

So last night, I finally got my Twitter and Facebook accounts hooked up with Flipboard and it really is revolutionary. It expands links in your Twitter and Facebook feeds, presenting them in a magazine format so that you don't have to click through on everything that you want to read a little more about. Normally I end up just not clicking because I don't want a million open windows. Flipbook willl show you 3 or 4 on a page with the first few paragraphs, then it is quick to open the full linked page if you touch the article. Simply touch "close" and you are back to your flippage.

This is not intended to be a review since I have only played with it for an hour or so, but I have a few initial observations.

In its current form, it will not supplant Tweetdeck or other aggregators. If Tweetdeck is the crawl at the bottom of FoxNews or CNN, then Flipbook is the NatGeo channel. Will Flipbook try to pull you back with a new feature called FlipFeed? Probably, but my experience is that nothing ever does everything right. (And you can quote me on that.)

Another thing is that it is slow to update right now and I did not see a refresh button.

Last thing: lists. Supposedly it has a way to use Twitter lists. I have not tried this, but all of my lists are in Tweetdeck, so they need to be able to pull these in as well.

All in all, it looks like a GREAT product. I just can't wait until they start peppering the pages with contextual ads and start selling off the intel they derive by crawling everyone's Twitter and Facebook feeds. And there is your asterisk...


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