Must have apps for content consumption

We have previously established that public relations facilitates an on-the-go lifestyle. You never know at what time of day you will have to respond to a crisis and it just might be detrimental if you are are uninformed and do not respond until it’s already too late.

In 2016 news is a 24/7 flow. Every minute there is a new story being posted online and as public relations professionals we feel it is our duty to be informed on all of them. However, with the endless supply of news content, it could easily become a very stressful full-time job to just stay informed.

So how do PR professionals stay constantly up-to-date without letting the news overwhelm their lives?

  1. Flipboard, 4.5 stars

Strengths

Flipboard offers unique magazine style experience with flipping interface. (http://www.wired.com/tag/flipboard/)

Flipboard offers unique magazine style experience with flipping interface. (http://www.wired.com/tag/flipboard/)

Flipboard claims to be “your personalized magazine at your desk, in your back pocket or on your wrist.” Instead of the normal scrolling interface, Flipboard has designed a unique flipping interface to create the magazine feel. When signing up for a free account, users are given a list of over 32,000 interests to which they can subscribe.

As you browse through other users’ magazines you might find interesting articles that you want to save for later. You can create your own ‘magazines’ and ‘flip’ articles into them, so people who follow your magazines will see them. News meets social media.

Weaknesses

While the flipping instead of scrolling tactic is unique and refreshing it does take some getting used to. When a 24-year-old student at Brigham Young University was asked to navigate Flipboard without any prior knowledge, she reported that the flipping was startling and threw her off.

She said, “I don’t get why when I try to scroll through a story I want to read it just randomly flips to another one and I don’t know how to get back.”

Flipboard has a slight learning curve for new users, but once you get the hang of it it will be a great asset in your arsenal of news consumption.

  1. Pocket, 5 stars

Strengths

Pocket works essentially as your news pocket where you store all the articles you want to read at a later time. As you skim through CNN, social media or any news outlet you hardly have time to read all the stories you are interested in, so Pocket allows you to dump them all in one convenient location.

As I registered for my free Pocket account, I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the walkthroughs and the connectivity. Pocket walked me through how to add the app to the dropdown share-to list on my phone. It also easily saved the email address to my phone contacts and walked me through how to set up the pocket button on my computer to easily save articles that I find on the web.

Weaknesses

When a group of new and experienced users were asked what they would do to improve Pocket, they could not come up with anything.

“Pocket declutters all the distractions on the Internet. It’s simple, but it does what I expect it to do. I don’t know how I’d change it,” says a user of one year.

  1. Colony FM, 4 stars

Strengths

Colony’s catch phrase is “busy bees have no time to read.” This new app launched in January 2016 when a group of friends started narrating articles and stories for people who just can’t find the time in the day to read. With a free account anyone can browse the eager-to-be-world’s-largest audio library to listen anywhere to real people reading news articles. Colony FM also asks users with narrating talents to share the wealth by recording articles and posting them.

Weaknesses

Because this app is still only three months old, the audio library with high aspirations is still in its infancy. There are many interesting articles on a variety of topics, but it still feels like a limited selection. Let’s say you do find a stellar article with a great recording. Listen well the first time because there is no way to download the article or the recording. App creators say they are aware of this problem and are working on a new version with download capabilities.

With the help of these great news supplements you will find yourself informed with time to spare. PR is moving faster by the day, but there is no need to get left behind. These apps will mobilize your skills and help you become a 24/7 expert, even when you are on the go. Try out these apps and post reviews of what you think.

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