If you follow me on Twitter, you know that lately I’ve been playing with Flipboard, an app that allows you to aggregate online content into custom digital magazines. This content is composed of websites, news sites, blogs, and social media.
Flipboard launched on iOS in 2010, went through rounds of development which included the addition of Android, and has now launched a web version. Simply, the creation and consumption is now available to anyone on any device. You can read a brief history on the company here.
Why do I like Flipboard?
I first encountered the app on iPad and loved that I could read feeds from Twitter and Facebook in a magazine format. The graphical layout is clean and building mags around topics was easy and intuitive. But over time, as with all things, I got distracted, it wasn’t top of mind and I migrated to other apps. Then recently came across #FlipboardChat on Twitter. A quick search brought up tons of conversations which got me thinking how about Fipboard could be useful for so much more than I originally imagined.
As with most social platforms, you’ll need to set up an account. You can use existing social media profiles from Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for quick sign-in and to make keeping up with passwords easier.
Next, select topics of interest to create your first Flipboard mag. As you click selections, more topics will appear. Once you’ve added All of your favorite topics, you can click DONE at the bottom of the page. Now you’ll be redirected to your personalized magazine. The process inside the app and online are similar enough to be self-guided. Privacy settings allow you to either keep your content to yourself or make it public.
With Flipboard, you are not limited to one magazine. You can throw all your interests into one collection or create separate titles. You can Flipboards from other members, and if you find an article intriguing, you can LIKE it or “Flip” it into one of your own magazines.
Creating Flipboards for a purpose.
Curate Content – A good portion of my blog posts are either about writing or the business of being a writer, so it was natural to want to curate content from around the web that builds on these topics. Forgive me if you’ve already come to this conclusion, but I realized quickly that a curated Flipboard mag is a perfect extension to a blog or web site. Readers who like the content on your site will appreciate that you’ve taken time to collect more viewpoints on the same topics and put them in one easy to access location and format.
But don’t limit yourself there. Do you have a main character with a passion for race cars? Vintage clothes? Art, perhaps? You can create mags from their point of views to add personality beyond your novel for fans to enjoy.
Add a few of your own interests too. Writers are a complex collection of eclectic interests. It’s okay to show you like tree house architecture; some of your followers may like it too.
Novels don’t write themselves and the ideas that bring them together often come from lots of research. My own WIP includes a lot of information on art history and WWII, apartment layouts and maps of downtown Chicago. What better way to get a feel for nightlife in another city then reading about news and events that help add vivid detail to the story. It becomes a resources for you, as well as readers, who want to learn more about your work.
What are your ideas? What stories and interests do you want to collect? Cookbooks? Travelogues? Go take a “flip” in your character’s shoes and have fun.