Flipboard: A Design and Data-driven Future

Flipboard 2.0

The news-reading app Flipboard just rolled out a major update—allows users to create their own personalized “magazines” for public viewing. The feature allows users to pull articles from a variety of sources, including Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tumblr. Users can also pull articles from the Web browser by adding Flipboard’s new bookmark “Flip it.” In a video below, Flipboard founder Mike McCue picked up a magazine built by a fan of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It looked pretty neat, full of news and stories about artists performing at the event, together with relevant videos and even music that you can tap on and have playing in the background. Everyone can comment on the magazines.

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It may look a bit like Pinterest at the first glance, and indeed it is a feature that will appeal to those who enjoy creating collections. This could be a useful tool for arts managers to create stories about each exhibition or show. Many arts organizations have realized the value of using social media platform, including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. However, given the information on these platforms is extremely scattered, arts managers need to reorganize these information and make it more meaningful to the audience. Making a logic story about the concept of a show by integrating the use of video, pictures, words, and audio can help audiences comprehensively understand the meaning behind an art activity.

This new feature provides a preview of Intelligent Content, which is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable, for both magazine creators and readers. One advantage of Intelligent Content is that it can help arts organizations create content in a more cost-efficient way. Instead of obeying the rules of printed media, arts organization can offer an always-on and continuously updated experience by creating a magazine online while saving money on printing. Moreover, audiences can access the magazines wherever and whenever they want and share them with their friends.

More importantly, this new update enables arts managers to predicate which artworks will bring in a much-needed audience by analyzing the big data that comes from reading, creating and commenting behavior. Recently, an MIT team has developed an algorithm that can predict trending topics on Twitter hours in advance. Similarly, arts managers can use the data that comes from the audience’s responses to the magazines to identify emerging popular topics. Arts managers can also encourage the audiences to create their own magazines that are correlated with the shows. This way, arts managers will be able to create content with almost a certain return on investment.

Arts managers who recognize this design-and data-driven future will have a head start. Flipboard is just a start. Arts managers can experiment now with new ways to deliver content and measure how the audiences engage with it. The data in turn is a great asset to help them deliver even more engaging art experiences in the future.