Flipboard brings editorial curation to Mastodon with ‘desks’ for information and discovery

Journal app Flipboard is furthering its investment in the Fediverse — the distributed social media ecosystem that features apps like Mastodon and others — with its newly introduced plan to determine its first editorial desks to curate information for the broader federated group. Initially, the corporate will launch 4 desks — News, Tech, Culture and Science — which it says gained’t be automated by bots however as an alternative by skilled curators who’ve experience in discovering and elevating attention-grabbing content material.

The corporate already understands the ins and out of curation, having constructed an app that lets customers set up articles and updates, together with these from social networks, into customized magazines that can be shared with others.

However extra not too long ago, Flipboard has shifted its focus to embracing the open social internet and the Fediverse, with the launch of its own Mastodon server and announcement of its plans to extra deeply combine with the ActivityPub, the protocol powering a rising variety of decentralized apps, together with open supply Twitter various Mastodon.

Flipboard additionally added help for searching Mastodon and fascinating with its content material in its journal app, after Twitter’s new proprietor Elon Musk revoked API entry for a variety of third-party providers, together with Flipboard. Earlier this month, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue shared that Twitter had turned off their API integration for longtime apps, like Flipboard, which had been working with the microblogging service for some 13 years. Earlier than, Flipboard customers may view tweets within the app and add them to their magazines. Now, Flipboard says it gained’t work with Twitter after Musk changed the pricing for its API to cut out smaller developers.

“Whereas Twitter is enabling fee for some API entry, the strategy they’ve taken is prohibitively costly, unreliable and albeit untrustworthy,” McCue mentioned on the time. “I can’t think about us or anybody else ever counting on Twitter once more for something.”

In fact, McCue and the Flipboard staff had seen this second coming and had already redirected the company away from Twitter and toward Mastodon. Its personal server — or “occasion” in Mastodon lingo — now has over 600 members. The corporate is positioning the occasion as a “extremely moderated, quick, safe and dependable” approach for first-time Mastodon customers to hitch the Fediverse. When the occasion launched in February, it was initially open solely to Flipboard’s prime curators, however the firm goals to slowly scale it as much as 1000’s of members over time.

The Flipboard Mastodon account has additionally turn into an energetic participant in the neighborhood, posting common suggestions about attention-grabbing customers to observe (#FollowFriday). McCue himself has additionally taken part in events, just like the FediForum digital “unconference” the place Fediverse builders mentioned a variety of concepts and demoed their merchandise.

Now, Flipboard is including extra worth to the Mastodon group with its desks idea, which it says will ship explainers and evaluation, however not flood customers’ feeds with “a kajillion posts.”

The brand new desks will even assist individuals discover others to observe on Mastodon — one thing that may nonetheless be a problem with at the moment’s setup.

“… As a result of it’s not at all times simple to search out individuals within the Fediverse, we are going to elevate the voices of considerate writers, reporters and thinkers, and naturally the publishers who’re becoming a member of the dialog,” wrote Flipboard North America managing editor Carl Sullivan, in a blog post. “In different phrases: you’ll see us boosting posts by others,” he famous.

The put up defined how the completely different desks will work. The Information Desk will cowl the day’s prime tales and investigative journalism. The Tech Desk will carry the final tech information throughout subjects like AI, social media and different impactful improvements. The Tradition Desk will spotlight interviews, opinions and options within the arts and leisure house. And the Science Desk will cowl information in areas like house, local weather change and extra.

The corporate tells us that the curators operating the desks are the staff who curate the accounts with the identical names on Flipboard’s personal app. The staff will characteristic three to 5 tales per day however will even enhance posts from different accounts on Mastodon to help in discovery.

‘It’s early days for the Fediverse and one of many issues we’ve heard again and again is that it’s exhausting to search out nice individuals and content material,” Flipboard communications head Christel van der Increase mentioned. “We consider in a future that’s federated and as you already know we’re working towards full integration with ActivityPub. These Desks are a really first step into that path and supply us a technique to be taught with the group,” she added.

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