A new iPad application called "Flipboard" is garnering lots of excitement from social networking fans and technology bloggers alike.
The "social magazine" was announced on July 20 and is the first application to aggregate and present users' Twitter, Facebook, and news feeds in a digital magazine-style layout.
"With over 1 billion messages posted every day, social networks are quickly becoming the primary way people discover and share content on the Web. The result is a huge influx of incoming messages and links people must sort through across multiple web sites just to stay up to date," said Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.
"We believe the timeless principles of print can make social media less noisy, more visually compelling and ultimately more mainstream."
Readers are presented with a constantly-updated magazine layout that enhances social networking content by giving added weight to its design.
For example, instead of showing the 140 characters of a tweet like you would see in Twitter clients such as TweetDeck or Seesmic, Flipboard loads images and text associated with any links contained within the post, and seamlessly presents them on a beautifully designed magazine page.
Flipboard makes social networking fun for people that might not be interested in prowling sites like Twitter and Facebook for updates.
Gary Lauder VC at Lauder Partners, and TED speaker told Robert Scoble, "It takes a lot of the stuff from nerddom to mainstream," after getting his first "hands-on" experience with the app.
"My mother is not going to read tweets, but she will read Flipboard."
People who have only a few contacts on sites such as Twitter or Facebook can easily have Flipboard generate new content sections that are relevant to their interests. The app lets users select feeds from one of the company's "hand-curated" sections or users can create their own section based on a topic, person or Twitter list.
User-sourced news aggregation websites and applications - including the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and my6sense - are becoming some of the most visited sources of news on the web.
The rise in popularity of news aggregating websites and applications stems from a growing user expectation that readers should be able to view relevant news articles delivered to them in real time.
Today's young readers want to consume the best news from multiple sources, specifically tailored to their tastes - but only if it is current.
This instant gratification also promotes a certain form of media consumption; the quick-news-fix style of reading lends to headline skimming rather than in-depth article reading. After all, people on their way to work browsing the news from their mobile device don't want to have to click on links only to find they have to wait for the news article to load in a new page (a problem you don't encounter when using Flipboard).
According to a study by Outsell Inc. released in January 2010, around 44 percent of Google News visitors scan the news headlines to gather a quick overview of the information instead of clicking through to the article.
Flipboard is one of the few digital reading apps that may actually encourage consumers to engage with the sourced content by presenting news and updates in a format that is both enticing to look at and interesting to read.
The Flipboard App is available for free at www.flipboard.com or through Apple's App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flipboard/id358801284?mt=8