A Few Fediverse Suggestions For Flipboard

Flipboard icon

The social news network known as Flipboard has begun to court the Fediverse & has activated ActivityPub with a select number of accounts.

Today we are beginning to open Flipboard to the Fediverse, a rapidly emerging part of the Web which includes social services like Mastodon, Threads, Pixelfed, Firefish and PeerTube all built on a revolutionary open protocol called ActivityPub.

What does this mean for you? In the next few months, everyone using Flipboard will be able to discover and follow a whole new group of writers, vloggers, artists, scientists, explorers, political leaders and millions of others who are posting content and conversing in the Fediverse. If you curate on Flipboard, not only will you have a lot more content to curate from, there will be millions more people to enjoy the Magazines and Storyboards you are curating. If you're a publisher, creator or brand on Flipboard, you'll start to see new visitors and engagement as people discover and share your content across the growing Fediverse. [...]

In this first phase we are partnering with 27 publishers and creators to help them federate their Flipboard accounts and gather feedback from people across the Fediverse. (Flipboard on Medium)

Kudos to CEO @mike@flipboard.social & his team for figuring out how to quickly transition their primary site to the Fediverse, which allows people to follow specific accounts (like @espn@flipboard.com) from their Mastodon, Misskey, Pixelfed, etcetera, account.

I do have a few suggestions which can help make Flipboard more relevant to both publishers & users.

Federating Flipboard Magazines

Flipboard's current setup means that users following a specific Flipboard account will receive the “firehose” of all the content from that account, as the @fediversereport@mastodon.social explains.

With the current implementation of federation, you only follow a Flipboard account, and all the posts you see in your feed get the text “Posted Into [Magazine]” added. You cannot follow an individual magazine from an account yet. As Flipboards Magazines do not easily map onto the structure that other fediverse platforms use. The closest analogue might be PeerTube's Channels, which also don't federate. (Fediverse Report)

A potential workaround is to have Flipboard magazines appear as subdomains within a specific account.

For example, instead of following @espn@flipboard.com & receiving every sports info (which would not appeal to many people), users can instead follow a specific magazine like ESPN NFL magazine which would appear as @espn@nfl.flipboard.com which would cater towards American football fans.

Another example would be Mike McCue's account, @mike@flipboard.com, where a user could follow his photography magazine on the Fediverse at @mike@photos.flipboard.com which would appeal to photography enthusiasts who may not be as enthusiastic about his pressure cooking food recipe magazine (note: some of those meals look good!!!).

Original Verification

After Elon Musk “failed whale” the whole verification process on Twitter (now known as X), with some companies losing billions of dollars over the blue check debacle, it might be wise for Flipboard to assign blue check marks on their platform for prominent organizations & accounts.

While this might not mean much for some accounts on Mastodon, Misskey, or Pixelfed, with Threads joining the Fediverse, having a way to distinguish legit or prominent accounts will be necessary for mainstream users.

Custom Domains

A premium feature Flipboard could offer is custom domains or having the power of Flipboard underneath your domain. This will probably appeal to organizations & individuals who want to use Flipboard under their domain, which could help further “verify” that an individual or organization is indeed the person curating the content.

Charging at least $10 per month would be reasonable (potentially higher depending on how an individual uses the platform). Although most users will choose the free Flipboard.com option, a sizable chunk of Flipboard's users would probably opt to pay for this feature, which could also bring in extra revenue for the Flipboard company.

Conclusion

It is fascinating to witness Flipboard joining the Fediverse, as the platform could counterbalance how people consume news, which is currently controlled by mega-corporations who are not afraid to geo-block entire countries when they encounter an impasse with the government (just ask Canada 🇨🇦).

👨🏾‍💻 by Darnell Clayton 🔛 @darnell@darnell.day

🕺🏾 Follow my adventures upon: 👉🏾 @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) 👉🏾 @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) 👉🏾 @darnell@darnell.ooo 📸 (Pixelfed)

🦹🏾‍♂️ Other digital havens: 👉🏾 @darnelltv@darnell.tv 👨🏾‍💻 (WordPress) 👉🏾 @darnell@threads.net 🧵 (Threads) 👉🏾 @darnell@flipboard.com 📰 (Flipboard)