Flipboard Renewing Its Relevance With the Fediverse

Flipboard is jumping into the fediverse with both feet, according to a piece from The Verge. While the fediverse isn’t where I saw the piece first (that would be on Threads), when Flipboard first announced it was experimenting with Mastodon some months back, it was the first time I’d thought about Flipboard in years (much less used it). Since The Verge piece first ran December 18th, it’s been updated with links to both their Flipboard account, and their Mastodon account.

If you’re not familiar with Flipboard, their key organizing principle is the magazine. Articles you read from any number of sources can be “flipped” into a magazine you create, along with any commentary you may want to provide. As in other social media networks, you can follow other members and be followed by them. You can comment on shared articles and other Flipboard members can respond. Another interesting feature (which I never took advantage of myself) is Invite contributors. I presume this feature allows multiple Flipboard members to contribute articles to the same magazine. This might be how The Verge handles its own presence on Flipboard.

Unrelated to the whole fediverse pivot, reviewing the features of Flipboard makes me wonder if they ever actively pursued the sorts of people who write newsletters. From what I’ve seen of Substack, I haven’t seen anything it does as a service that Flipboard doesn’t do as well or better–and they probably have a much larger number of monthly active users.

The key difference I’ve found so far between the mobile app experience and the web experience of Flipboard is that you can only flip articles into Mastodon via the mobile app.

Another thing Flipboard has changed since I last looked at what they were doing with Mastodon is allow you to add any Mastodon profile URL to your Flipboard profile and display a verified link on your profile page. I’ve already set that up and now my profile looks like this:

This is the sort of attention and interest that Tumblr could have generated had they moved more aggressively in exploring integration with the fediverse via ActivityPub. Tumblr is a first-class citizen on IFTTT, an awesome site for creating workflows and automations between a whole host of different services. I have a number of automations (IFTTT calls them applets) that use Tumblr as a destination and a “fedified” Tumblr would have let me automate a lot of posting without having to change a thing. Flipboard simply isn’t set up for that–not without workarounds or hacks (though IFTTT appears to have one that uses Pocket as an intermediary that I plan to try).

If this post has piqued your curiosity about Flipboard’s foray into the fediverse, I encourage you to check out Flipboard for yourself. Follow me there, comment on pieces I’ve flipped, create your own magazine(s), get the Flipboard mobile app and flip good pieces into Mastodon.