TOOLS OF MY TRADE: #7 FLIPBOARD

Though a few of my tools this week were writer focused, this one is great for anybody. My friends’ 16 year-old daughter even has it installed on her iPad so perhaps for once, I’m in with what the young, cool kids are doing instead of being a step behind. What is it? Flipboard. I love it and you will too. Check out this video to see why…

So in case you can’t see this video, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. Flipboard is an App that takes all those many different social networks we belong to and all those blogs we follow, and even blogs we don’t follow, and it compiles them into the prettiest damn digital magazine you could ever imagine. I’m serious–it’s absolutely beautiful! Who would have thought that the stream of crap that comes through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, usually in ugly lines of URLs and written text, could look like a glossy magazine you’d pay a bunch for if you bought it at a newstand? But it does. Wanna see?

The first picture below is the Cover–the page that opens first when you select the App on the iPad. The cover automatically scrolls through images from the content inside your Flipboard. Touch on the image and you’re taken to your Favorites page which shows all the sources you’ve selected. I have my Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader accounts on mine, as well as things like News, Tech, Lifestyle, Inside Flipboard, Style, Eats, Health, Web Culture and a few others which are compilations of the best in each topic put together by Flipboard. Touch on any one of the items in your table of contents (the second picture below) and you’ll be taken inside. The final pic below is my Facebook news feed as it appears in magazine layout–posts, pictures and links uploaded by my friends in beautiful graphic layout.

What do I use Flipboard for that makes it a valuable tool to me? Well, this for instance–every time I found a blog I was interested in, I’d click that little FOLLOW tab up top, thereby adding it to my Google Reader which I never, ever–seriously never!–went to. So all those blogs I found, I never looked at. Then my friend told me about Flipboard. Honestly, I checked it out just because I’m a geek who loves Apps and she thought it was cool. Lo and behold, in addition to Facebook and Twitter, there were all those blogs I’d followed and never saw again, all 557 of them. But now, instead of having to go to a page on my computer and look at the posts, they were all laid out enticingly, with images in a format I could digest and enjoy.

Warning: I spent HOURS on there the first day. In my defense, it was a new toy and I had 557 blogs to catch up on. Now I spend just a few minutes every day or two, checking what’s new. It is a work tool too since I sometimes need to suggest interesting blogs to feature for the ARe Wildfire newsletter and I can always find some from among the links posted by my Facebook and Twitter friends and from the new blog posts captured in my now easy to use Google Reader.

I have Flipboard on my iPad and iPod Touch. I read a June article that says an iPhone App is next. I read an April article saying an Android App would be out “eventually”, which to me doesn’t sound promising. Sorry, Android users. Find me at a convention and I’ll let you play with mine on the iPad.

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