Today, a guest staying in my place who knows I like NPR suggested I revisit Flipboard as they offer audio now.
NPR is a news organization I care enough about to track their products. Their iPad app is easy on the eyes and efficient to browse. It offers accessible social sharing. It could be improved. Strangely, it lacks any opportunity for loyal fans to mingle within its app – commenting is something NPR permits to an annoying extreme on most of its radio air. This would be better moved over time to the app, because we can scan the comments rather than sit painfully listening to each while staring at traffic.
Flipboard was one of Silicon Valley’s big rages when it first came out. I don’t hear much about it now, but I hope they are building fast and furiously like any other new media option. I’m always open to more wow.
I can remember being very charged, but not wowed, the week Flipboard debuted as it appeared very close to what I first imagined GENWI, the first digital media company I dedicated a lot of energy toward, might produce as socially interactive digital news. Both companies developed a similar aesthetic to their products, but a very different service trajectory for their community. Flipboard gives most of the customization to the reader. GENWI focuses on giving the publisher better control over how the media is gifted to the reader.
Flipboard will likely nurture its own tribal community of frequent periodical readers (as I first hoped 2009′s GENWI web-based social newspaper would). When the team at Generation Wireless switched its focus to the publisher – smaller publisher tribes got a chance to dance more persistently around the fire. I like this as the editors from one brand’s perspective can choreograph more of the dance.
These distinct missions might be better described with a second analogy for your Memorial beach weekend: GENWI helps a publisher make a small social sandbox for its most loyal (and mobile) fans while also enabling them to call out to others who might want to join the discussion inside this publisher branded sandbox. Flipboard provides space for the entire beach and hopes someone will toss a sexy iOS toward a bikini reading nearby – maybe from that a volleyball game between readers in the app will make tracks in the sand. They be spiking balls from lots of the publishers.
This early in mobile content development, its probably smart to make content to lots of playgrounds. I could get introduced to a new publisher through the larger readers’ network and become more loyal by spending time with the small publisher’s sandbox.
Mimicking the traditional newspaper/magazine look was nice for the first year, but I expect most news organizations with a print pedigree will begin to move on quite fast. I’ve noticed that all the competition this renaissance is stirring has more bold style changes in printed magazines these days.
Another disadvantage to faux news column apps is a modest lack of scrolling and browsing efficiency advantages of slide or grid presentations in apps. Once the news apps offer more of these options, they’ll inject color and lasers and maybe clowns.
Other reasons I don’t wow for Flipboard? Subconsciously, I’m likely skeptical of any team who raises so much dough yet takes ages to provide for Android. Its like they are afraid we geeks might interrupt the sex that could happen at that volleyball beach or if we cross paths with some other iPhone photo philter party. But, the main reason, is speed.
When I was cleaning up my iPad real estate I realized flipboard felt slow while unwrapping content for me, so I deleted it. Pulse app delivers the headlines with a quick scroll browsing that remains on a third of the screen even while I’m reading the entirety of a select piece.
There’s no slow on Pulse, except the Reddit hooks don’t link to content, but only to a Reddit page with the same headline blurb. Not much slow load happening often on NYT or NPR apps, but more than occasional slow stuff happens with WSJ.
So, essentially, slowness is the first reason I’ll ditch an app. But I never made a habit of your app if I couldn’t access great writing substance quickly within all the layers of your design.
I also don’t often go for Pandora mixed tape experience for my news reading. I want tastefully experienced editors employed to present the order of music for my reading party. Often a DJ beats an algorithm. Pulse presses publisher rows of content, this allows me to see the lineup the editor DJs for each magazine decide to present.
I don’t remember Flipboard bothering with an option like this in their flip environment; it seemed like they just shovel all the the technology sand toward one wall, the art sand toward another wall, and so on. That’s probably groovy for some surfers and I notice Pulse offers rows for subject mixes now, but I like to climb into a branded sandbox with a reputation resonating in my bones. That way I can better set my mood to really play with the content. Its too jarring for my mind when I read two paragraphs only to back up to ascertain if the source of the article is Techcrunch, GigaOm, or PandoDaily flavored beach poop I’m choking on. My mind is building roads and castles with the sand I’m reading. I appreciate seeing the brand stamped on each colored pail I dump in front of me rather than taking scoops from several buckets at a time.
Currently, when I go to twitter I don’t go to write. My twitter poetry starts within the news apps as I’m trying to stir more downstream conversation by riffing on an article that might create an image in my mind.
I also don’t currently go to twitter to flock as a lot of the conversationalists do. I sometimes @reply to make a point I haven’t already seen, but I mostly go to twitter to simply fish the stream for perspectives not formalized in the professional press yet. While fishing its entirely appropriate for my mind to see glimmers of different brands and voices floating by. I’m making interconnections that someone else with a different creative process may make while reading the aggregated info sand on Flipboard, Pulse, Google news, etc. A variety of presentation styles for our information sourcing is good for progress in society. Long live digital diversity.
While in twitter, my brain seems to like zapping matches between the fired wires stimulated by all types of the twitter river life. I don’t really want topic categorization as a default, so I rarely use my lists. Trend and keyword streams are fun to cast into occasionally. “Top tweets” designation helps me ladle up water with more life and less sediment when I fish here.
Excellent personalities of any kind is good for my twitter stream and I like to see them all there swimming together. Or flying, if they are birds. I work hard to stage a motley flock. Swimming and flying is the same, only the viscosity is different. I don’t work hard to follow a bunch of people in the same profession just to see the @conversations.
I use the suggested followers tool as I’m always hungry for new voices. That tool will probably be a lot more useful when excellent tweeters save more of their energy by slapping up more excellent posts rather than the very common congratulatory public displays of affection we see now. If you are beating your networking thoroughbred to win whatever is your race please leave some dust in which I can learn something useful.
We all know that opening twitter links is an extra step in a long day, so I like those who specifically provide excellent headlining captions. You have to be a rare superior bird for me to click on some generic made my day -> t.co/xxxx
I allow a few headlines provided by branded news in my twitter stream. I typically don’t read many stories from the stream even if I open them for a brief look. I prefer to simply let their notions swim with the other more unprofessional comments. That helps set a more complete tone to my overview of the day and often reminds me to give a news source a more in depth look later.
I’d read most every minute of my waking day away if I could get bionic eyes that didn’t tire or if I didn’t crave outside’s real life variety. And if there were better ways to exercise my other physically demanding parts while reading.
Reading remains the fastest way to get distilled ideas in my head. More artfully playful pieces such as on McSweeney’s or via photos and videos typically offer more symphonic complexity that enables my brain’s focus to soften just enough to see some of the less obvious nuance that matters. Occasionally, a writer on WSJ or NYT will feature the same music within these dailies. That’s why I’ll read these, but have little patience for most other newspapers. Of course, there are strong writers at other papers, but few of them have the funds to employ enough of reliable writing to warrant valuable time within their pages.
Regional newspapers can thrive if they Go Local in the digital age. Typically, stronger journalism skills and writing ability will help organizations with a newspaper heritage beat TV and radio stations that also round out the digital offerings to sell us tomorrow’s news. Soon enough, most local news sources will compete primarily on writing. There will be strong photo/videographers, audio and lighting technicians, and editors hired for most all news providers, but the chief thing they will all have to focus on is the quality of the report.
Thanks for the opportunity to write about why and how I nosh news. I understand myself better now.