Twitter Lists and Flipboard make each other unbearably awesome

July 30, 2010  |  Tags:

When Twitter first introduced Twitter lists, I created one list for news tweeters such as @theeconomist, @cnnbrk, @time and @cnalatest, and another for tech news with @engadget, @wired, @newsycombinator and more. I figured I could browse these lists from time to time to pick out interesting news from these sources, without having their high-volume posts distract me from my main Twitter feed.

Of course, I then proceeded to pretty much ignore my lists. I often found it hard to tell from the tweets which articles were actually interesting enough to click through and read, and when I did click, I’d usually end up waiting a while for the article and associated images to load before realising I’d wasted my time.

Enter Flipboard, an iPad app that has exponentially increased the utility of Twitter lists for me. Flipboard creates a personalised reading experience for you by looking at your Twitter and Facebook streams, pulling article excerpts and images from the links within, and presenting them in a beautiful magazine-style layout. The app suggests some sources for you to follow (e.g. “Tech Influencers, by Robert Scoble”. Snicker), but the killer feature is using your own Twitter lists as sources. This way, you get news from sources you care about, grouped the way you want, and with enough text and visuals for you to browse efficiently.

Adding your own lists to Flipboard requires the same invite that allows you to add your Twitter and Facebook streams. Once you have it, just hit add and wait for your lists to show up in the sources. However, it’s not immediately obvious how to add someone else’s lists — to do so, when adding new sources, just type in username/short-list-name into the search field, e.g. yjsoon/tech-news or yjsoon/interesting.

Here are some of my lists. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for sources to add — just look for me on Twitter.

  • Interesting: The very best links, curated by @laughingsquid, @boingboing, @tputh and @kottke. I’d add @daringfireball here, too, if I didn’t already follow the RSS feed religiously.
  • News: Local and international news from @stcom, @cnalatest, @time, @theeconomist and @cnnbrk.
  • Entertainment: Comics, movies and gaming news from @joystiq, @kotaku, @comingsoonnet, @cinematical, @ign, @cbr and @newsarama.
  • Tech News: Tech news that’s generally interesting but too high-volume to keep up with — @techcrunch, @newsycombinator, @engadget, @wired, @arstechnica, @tuaw, @mashable and @macrumors.
  • Amusing: A variety of funny Twitter feeds. Flipboard’s “quote view” works really well with pithy 140-character tweets.