Flipboard is one of my favorite tools for content discovery and reading on a variety of topics. I don’t read a lot of books, but I read online articles all the time.
Flipboard was originally exclusively an iPad app. I remember when the original iPad was first available in 2010. This was one of the apps that best displayed the power and beauty of the new device. I didn’t get an iPad until 2011 (the iPad 2). For the record, I stood in line at our local Apple store for about 12 hours.
When I got my new iPad home, Flipboard was one of the first apps I installed and it’s been on all my mobile devices since. It’s a beautiful interface and allows the reader to flip pages as if looking at a print magazine.
Several years ago I discovered that Flipboard was available as a web app, and I use it daily since then. Not only is it a lovely browsing experience, it’s a valuable way to discover new and interesting content.
How to Get Started with Flipboard
Go to Flipboard.com to set up a free account. Fill out your profile with a brief bio and avatar.
Then go to the top of the page and select your favorites. These are topics you’re interested in reading about.
There are two sides to your Flipboard account:
- The content you discover.
- The content you share.
Content Discovery on Flipboard
First, let’s talk about content discovery.
Go to the top menu and click the down arrow to expand the Favorites menu.
Add a term to the search box or browse through Flipboard’s suggestions. Select the topics that interest you. You can drag and drop them into whatever order you wish.
The best of these topics will populate the For You page. It’s generated based on your topics and the articles you click on. It will eventually “learn” what you’re interested in.
You can follow topics — just click on the topic tag (or hashtag) and you’ll be taken to the topic page. Click the Follow button under the topic name.
I like to start with the For You feed, then the Daily Edition for recent news articles. Then I go through my favorites by clicking on the menu links.
Personalize Your Feeds
In the top menu, click the down arrow and select Edit Favorites. Select additional topics or sub-topics to add. You can do this with each favorite. To delete a favorite, just click the gray x next to it in the list.
Sharing on Flipboard
Once your feeds fill up with content (instantly), you’ll probably find some articles you’d like to share. You can share on Flipboard by flipping the article into a magazine you’ve created. A magazine is a group of articles on a particular topic.
To create a magazine, go to your profile and, under the heading Magazines, click the gray box on the left that is marked Make a new magazine.
To share on Flipboard, or flip to a magazine, click the plus icon under the article. The dialog box will ask you to choose the magazine you’d like to add it to.
To share on social networks, click the Share button (far left under the article preview) and choose the social network you’d like to share it to, or just copy the link and paste it.
There are two types of magazines on Flipboard: regular and smart magazines.
This is a magazine you’ll add content to manually. When you find articles you want to share, you’ll choose which magazine to share it to. You build its content from from articles you choose to share directly to each magazine. Here’s a magazine I created called All Things Online Marketing.
With a smart magazine, you choose the topic and Flipboard populates the feed.
To create a smart magazine on mobile, swipe left until you get to Explore More Passions. Then select the topic for your magazine. Click Personalize and select additional topics or subtopics. Your smart magazine will now appear on your profile and in the top menu.
Here’s a screenshot of one of my smart magazines on the topic of healthy eating.
To personalize your smart magazine, click the personalize link under the title of your magazine. Then select other topics or subtopics you’d like to include.
General Flipboard Tips
- When you’re on a topic page, like this one on marketing, you can click any of the hashtags under the title for more content.
2. Create a private notebook for articles you want to save or read later, or use it to save ideas.
3. Customize the magazine cover. By default, Flipboard will use the most recent article image for the cover, but you can change this. Find an image inside the magazine you’d like to use and click Promote to Cover.
4. You can use Flipboard on the desktop or on your phone or tablet. Mobile devices provide a different experience, so try out the free app on both.
5. You can invite collaborators to your magazines to provide a wider variety of content.
6. Apply to be a publisher and you can create a magazine from your website’s RSS feed. Here’s mine.
7. Have fun with Flipboard. It doesn’t have to be only for work-focused topics. I have topics from marketing to baseball and recipes. It’s a fun and useful app.