Flipboard for iPad gives Facebook, Twitter a magazine-style makeover

Magazines aren't dead; they're just getting reinvented. Flipboard turns Facebook and Twitter feeds into attractive, magazine-style pages for beach-friendly consumption.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Facebook and Twitter feeds have never looked better than with Flipboard for iPad.
Facebook and Twitter feeds have never looked better than with Flipboard for iPad. Flipboard

iPad app Flipboard calls itself a "social magazine," a way to browse Facebook and Twitter content with the same breezy effortlessness you'd browse the pages of a favorite periodical.

I call it cool.

Flipboard reminds me of Blogshelf, the awesome iPad app that gives blogs and RSS feeds an iBooks-style makeover.

Here, however, the app pulls from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, turning friends' updates into nicely formatted, perusal-friendly pages. (Shades of Sobees, which works a similar kind of magic--though only for Facebook.)

Flipboard also delivers your choice of a couple dozen aggregated content sections (news, finance, music, tech, etc.) selected by Flipboard's creators. It's perhaps the best way I've found to read The Onion on my iPad.

You can tap any section to see headlines, story blurbs, and photos mashed up in an attractive, magazine-style format. Swipe to flip to the next page, or tap a story to read it--an abbreviated version of it, anyway. As with Blogshelf, you often have to "tap through" to the original Web page to access the full content.

I can live with that, but Flipboard needs to fix a few other areas. For starters, you're currently limited to just nine sections. Choosing a new one means deleting something else--and the Facebook and Twitter sections can't be removed, even if you're not a social-media maven.

There's no offline option, either, so if you're not currently connected via Wi-Fi or 3G, no soup for you.

The biggest wrinkle? Flipboard has quickly turned into a victim of its own success. For the past several hours I've been unable to link my Facebook and Twitter accounts; the app is suffering from "capacity overload."

That's a temporary glitch, no doubt, and even without that stuff, Flipboard is worth a look. For me it's already joined the likes of Blogshelf, Early Edition, and PressReader as one of my favorite ways to consume content on my iPad.

Want to know more? Check out this morning's post on the Digital Media blog: Meet Flipboard: Mike McCue's stealth "social magazine." You can also watch the company's promo video below--though see if you don't agree that the pitchman comes across as overly smug. Yeah, it's a cool app--we get it!