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Hacking Flipboard for fun and profit

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Okay. Probably not profit. But hacking Flipboard to make it all about you can be fun.

Yesterday I talked about creating your own liquid network, a professional learning network that makes you and those around you smarter.

But PLNs are not just people. Your PLN should also include news feed apps and RSS aggregators. If you’re not familiar with RSS, head to this handy Youtube video clip. Basically these are tools that you can customize so that just the specific news and information you want automatically appears in that tool. So you don’t have to go out and search for stuff, the stuff comes to you. (One of the easiest tools to use is Google Reader.)

My favorite tool?

Flipboard on my iPad. It also works on all other iOS devices, Androids, the Kindle Fire and the Nook. If you have any sort of mobile device, Flipboard is one of those no-brainer apps. It’s just too handy not to have.

Flipboard lets you create personalized channels of content – ranging from news, politics, geography, history, books, blogs, movies . . . well, you get the picture. There is an incredible number of channels that I can select so that my Flipboard is as specific to me as my fingerprints.

Plus it’s free. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have it. I reference my Board three or four times a day and because it automatically updates, everything I read is incredibly fresh.

So what? The so what is that you can create an anywhere, anytime newspaper that updates just your stuff, just for you, all the time. So your liquid network gets more liquidy. So you can get smarter.

And thanks to some conversation yesterday with Tamara Konrade and Tammy Fellers, two of my best buds, my Flipboard experience just got better. They showed me that it’s possible to hack your Flipboard so that you can add very specific websites that Flipboard doesn’t normally offer. (If you already know how to do this, then I want to join your network – you’re like super liquid.)

To do this, open Flipboard and tap the red search ribbon in the top right hand corner.

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Normally this is where you go to find topics and sites that Flipboard has in its database of goodies. And there are tons of choices. But the interwebs is a big place. It doesn’t have everything, including many of my favorite sites.

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The latest version of Flipboard allows you to search for specific web sites and blogs. Like TeachThought or Edudemic. Or History Tech. Type in the name of the site you’re looking for and Flipboard will go out and find it. Once you get Flipboard’s drop down list, simply click the plus sign to the right of the web site title and that site’s stuff will now automatically show up on your Board.

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But Flipboard doesn’t find everything. So you have to trick it just a bit. If your favorite site doesn’t appear, go back to that site and find the RSS feed. For example, the RSS feed url for History Tech is http://historytech.wordpress.com/feed.

Copy that URL and paste it into the Flipboard search box. On an iPad, copying the RSS url is fairly simple. Find the RSS symbol or link on the front page of the site you want to add, tap and hold the link until a menu appears. Tap the Copy option, slide over to Flipboard, tap and hold in the searchbox and select Paste.

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And voila, your site should appear for you to add.

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Continue this process until all of your favorite sites have been added and you have a Flipboard that is truly yours. Now you can dive into your network of information how and when you want, pulling out the pieces that will help you learn more and grow professionally.

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