Curating Flipboard content: two varieties of personalization

Curating my streams on Flipboard

The killer app

A few weeks ago, Flipboard (often referenced to as the iPad killer app”) was finally launched for the iPhone. And what the developers did to transport the flowing way of navigating your streams and news sources to the much smaller screen of the iPhone is more than convincing. Flipboard has very quickly become my favorite app for reading Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

But there is one thing that really shows the future of curating news: With Flipboard everybody can generate his own stream of news-sources and make it available for other users. Actually, I believe Jon Russell, is wrong. He complained earlier this day, that

“the news is somewhat US/Western-centric for me. While it is true to say that, particularly when talking tech (though I am referring all news genres), the lion’s share of media is US based. But, if I want personalised news, and the chance to discover content, should there be more emphasis on varied sources?”

Two flavors of personalization

There are two different varieties of personalization. The “old” variety that surfaced with the first dynamic web pages based on CGI scripts, allowed the user to select from a number of options defined by the editor (or webmaster). This variety is based on the notion of more or less homogeneous audiences or large groups of people. In this world you could chose between European, North-American or Asian news sources the same way you could chose between Tech, Culture or Politics channels. But you could not create, edit or share these streams.

The “new” variety of personalization allows to do exactly that. You can not only chose your streams but create, edit and share your streams. In Flipboard the most convenient way to do this is via Twitter lists. You only have to create a Twitter list of people or sources (= bots) that reflect your information needs the best, add this list to your Flipboard and off you go with your personalized news ecosystem in the “new” variety. You can also share your news list by making the list public. This way you can not only curate content, but also curate interesting people.

Writing for Flipboard

Another option is to curate your own Flipboard channel via a Twitter account, Facebook account or a generic RSS source such as a blog. I believe that there will be many applications resembling Flipboard in the future, so that sooner or later it will make sense for media companies to have a “Flipboard curator” that knows how to write optimized for this kind of aggregators.

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