An iPad app to flip over

By Laura Haight

If you've every labored through lengthy lists of Twitter and Facebook posts looking for nuggets of interesting information. Or waded through retweeted link after retweeted link without ever clicking through. Then Flipboard is the app you may have been waiting for.

It's easy to say Flipboard is an aggregator of content, but it is so much more. Flipboard turns the often dry, 140-character post, links and retweets into a magazine style format.

Flipboard starts with 9 content channels on its main page - Facebook can be one, Twitter another - and there are a number of pre-packaged subject-matter channels (like tech or media) as well as individual publications like Slate, Fast Company or USA Today.

For posted links, Flipboard displays the actual headline, artwork and some content. The poster is listed in a byline-like format. If you want to view the entire post, you can expand it to see the entire web page but within the Flipboard app. Although the app could be improved by enabling posting to Twitter from Facebook and vice versa, right now it enables you to retweet or repost to the same channel from the app. You can also add comments or view existing comments, without every leaving the app or the screen its on.

Posts are displayed chronologically and, at least so far, I haven't seen anything from Farmville or Mafia Wars so I think it skips the Facebook game posts.

In the five days I've had this app, I have found some real gems in the links that pour over the transom each day. Many of these, I know I would never have gone to look at from the normal Twitter/Facebook interface.

Flipboard is free and, unfortunately, right now is only on the iPad.
I recently did a presentation for a local business group on getting started with social media for small businesses. Are you using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools for your business? What tools do you use to aggregate the information? If you're an expert you can definitely help others; if you are not, Portfolio may be able to help you. Let's start the conversation.