Flipboard on Curated Curators
Protocol’s David Pierce recently wrote a piece about Flipboard that got me thinking back to the early days of the App Store. Back then, I was a heavy Flipboard user, but eventually left it for my current RSS and read later flow. When reading this article about Flipboard’s ambitions, three points jumped out at me in particular:
So Flipboard’s new aim is to turn those creators into curators as well, to give them the tools to bring all their content, recommendations and audiences into a single place. Flipboard, in that world, becomes a way to both follow and discover new content, across platforms and without all the added complexity and risk of social news feeds. And with a human touch rather than an algorithmic one.
McCue said he hopes to see YouTubers make Flipboard storyboards with all the gear recommendations they’d normally put in the description of a YouTube video, or to see Instagram stars put all their favorite podcasts, learning materials and go-to photography spots into a magazine. “In one fell swoop,” he said, “it’s a set of recommendations that are incredibly helpful for people to know where to go, what to bring and how to think about it.”
Curating its sources has long been a core tenet of how Flipboard manages the content flowing through its systems. “It’s garbage in, garbage out, right?” McCue said. Flipboard is committed to not being an engagement-driven engine like YouTube or Facebook, and is in some cases happy to act more like a publisher than a neutral platform. “We’ve made an editorial decision that these are people worth trusting,” he said. “That’s part of why Flipboard is Flipboard: Our algorithms only magnify domains that editorially, we’ve reviewed and made a determination that those domains can be trusted.”
I think it was precisely because of a need for more curation that I had moved on from Flipboard. These days, I personally curate from whom I want to see content. And it is indeed the trust I have in those sources/creators/authors that keeps me going back. Only with a positive experience or glowing recommendation do new sources get added to my feeds.
However, the direction that Flipboard explains it’s headed down has me reconsidering. If Flipboard can do the heavy lifting to pull together the secondary content that my curated creators recommend, I could see a lot of value in — slowly, cautiously — broadening my circles.
While an unfiltered stream from the open internet has generally turned into a cesspool, a deliberate expansion from trusted sources seems like a good thing. I’ll be keeping my eye on Flipboard.