A Few (More) Fediverse Suggestions For Flipboard

Flipboard logo in blue sky

Image Credit: Flipboard

Last year in December, I posted a few Fediverse suggestions for Flipboard, one which they adopted (to my delightful surprise).

Some of these ideas came to my mind after @mike@flipboard.social (CEO of Flipboard) was gracious enough to activate ActivityPub upon my account (my handle is @darnell@flipboard.com for those in the Fediverse).

Other ideas came after seeing what other platforms are doing, ironically leading to my first suggestion.

Mastodon plush in chair

Image Credit: Mastodon Blog

Easy On The Eyes

Last month, @Gargron@mastodon.social (founder of Mastodon) unveiled a cute, squeezable plush toy to the world.

After we've released our new line of merch last year, we've heard a lot of questions about a potential stuffed toy. After all, our official mascot is so suitable. But it is, problematically, a two-dimensional character.

We sat down with our artist, Dopatwo, to try and imagine what a character like that could look like in three-dimensional space. We had only three requirements: He would have to be cute, he would have to be cuddly, and he would have to be round. And Dopatwo delivered.

We created a stuffed toy of the highest caliber. Deliberately friend-sized and friend-shaped, with a soft surface material and soft, squishy stuffing, the toy measures a height of 35cm. Perfect as a travel companion you can rest your head on, or to fill in for you at business meetings. (Mastodon Blog)

Mastodon plush on business table

Image Credit: Mastodon

Even though I do not need a Mastodon plush toy, I wanted one & was annoyed that it was not available to order! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Note: I blame you for this, Eugen! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚ Yes, I did sign up to be alerted when they are available for sale.

If I order this plush toy successfully, I intend to put a mini t-shirt around him featuring the Mastodon logo and my Mastodon handle: @darnell@one.darnell.one (feel free to use this t-shirt idea Mastodon team).

Envious eyes aside, I believe Flipboard needs to develop a cute mascot that represents the company's brand. Perhaps an animal that reflects the beauty, intelligence, versatility, & fun of Flipboard, who can also capture an outsider's attention. After further pondering, one animal came to mind:

Flipboard should consider making their brand animal ambassador a dolphin ๐Ÿฌ! Dolphins๐Ÿฌ are delightful creatures & to help distinguish Flipboard's dolphin ๐Ÿฌ from others, they could put on a red t-shirt (featuring the Flipboard logo) & bless the dolphin with the name Flippy (at least until a better name is selected).

Flipboard could offer this plush toy for sale (along with custom username t-shirts for an extra fee) to their 100 million plus active users, which could help promote the company to outsiders unfamiliar with the Fediverse, or Flipboard.

Domain Groupingโ€ฝ

One issue some Fediverse folks (especially popular accounts) may experience is being overwhelmed by responses from the Fediverse. An excellent solution is to group responses by instance if numerous ones are coming from one server.

If a post becomes (in)famous on Threads or Mastodon Social, the notifications section will be drowned out by a few large instances, preventing a user from easily seeing responses elsewhere.

If Flipboard was able to group instances based upon domain together, it could also help users sort through responses, especially from other platforms that may boast smaller numbers (but whose input is equally valid).

Local Level Domain Blocking

If someone harasses a Flipboard citizen, they can simply block the individual account. But what happens when users from a particular instance begin to swarm an account in an attempt to overwhelm & frighten a user for posting something political (a sad reality in our day & age)?

Instead of appealing to Flipboard admins to block a domain, users could block an entire domain themselves, silencing an onslaught from a potential army of trolls & zombies.

Flipboard could then monitor when domain blocks are used by users, which would make it easier for the team to moderate the Flipboard community as users would be able to identify bad actors coming from bad places.

Manage Premium Subscriptions

I subscribe to several premium outlets, & whenever I encounter one on Flipboard, I am usually greeted with a few paragraphs, then a scary pop-up requiring me to log in or open the official news app to continue reading (I usually do the latter, exiting Flipboard altogether).

A great alternative would be securely logging in to our favorite premium subscriptions within the app or online. Once securely logged in, whenever we encountered multiple premium posts within Flipboard from different news outlets, we would immediately be logged into our accounts, allowing us to access the rest of the articles in peace.

As a bonus, Flipboard could recommend other premium media outlets of interest to us, & potentially earn a commission from referring a happy customer to a news agency.

Unlocking Treasure I May Not Need

Sometimes, I encounter a premium article whose news services I prefer not to subscribe to (as it primarily offers me nothing of value). However, occasionally, they provide valuable insight, which I would find beneficial, but only if I subscribe to their service.

Instead of wasting money on an annual or monthly subscription to a news agency, I will probably never read 99% of the time; it would be beneficial if Flipboard could offer a non-refundable, one-time access fee to view the article.

Flipboard could split the revenue between themselves, the news agency & Apple/Google (Apple & Google will demand a mobile tax, of course!). This would benefit everyone, especially media companies seeking new ways to pay their bills.

Any Other Suggestionsโ€ฝ

This article is long enough, so I will end it here. However, I believe Flipboard is in a unique position to influence ActivityPub platforms in the Fediverse and make reading news fun again for the masses.

If anyone else has any other suggestions for the Flipboard team, feel free to ping @Flipboard@flipboard.social with any other tips on how they can improve the future heavy weight of the Fediverse.

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป by @darnell@darnellclayton.com ๐Ÿ”› @darnell@darnell.day

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