Best Social News App: Hopflow
|Hopflow for iPad|
How many sites do you check to stay on top of your interests? You can follow the throngs of people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and any of the other social media sites, but you're bound to get a lot of chaff with your wheat.
New this week, Hopflow provides a solution that saves time and, more important, adapts as your interests change — something other networks don't do.
The new social news service launched as a website and as a free app for iPhone and iPad. An Android version will be released before the end of the year.
You'll need a Twitter or Facebook account to "hop in."
Why we like it
Hopflow looks like a mashup between Pinterest and social magazine app Flipboard, but there's more behind the changing photo stories than a list of topics selected at sign-up. Here's what makes Hopflow different from other social interest networks.
Adaptive stream: Like social magazines Flipboard and Google+, Hopflow asks you to pick from a list of possible interests to get started. Categories include technology, art, sports and lifestyle. It also pulls in topics you follow from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, which you can select to include in your flow.
As you use Hopflow — reading, liking and rehopping (which is similar to retweeting in Twitter or repinning in Pinterest) ― it adapts to your choices and shows you more related content from around the Web and from other Hopflow users.
Distribution to like-minded users: Community members can create posts or "hops," which may include links, photos, video or text. Each post is automatically sent to the feeds of Hopflow members who are following a particular topic. That means your story about last weekend's kitesurfing adventure will go to sports enthusiasts but won't bore those who share only your interest in supercomputers .
Like other social networks, Hopflow lets users share content within the community and with Twitter and Facebook.
Keep in mind
Hopflow also adjusts your content flow based on how often you check your feed. For instance, the streams of those who check hourly will always have fresh stories, while top stories will remain for a longer time on the feeds of those who check in less frequently.
The more you use Hopflow, the better it adapts to you and your interests. However, you can add or delete topics at any time and search for content related to a specific topic, which will then be added to your stream. You'll see stories from big-name contributors include the Food Network, Saveur, Lifehacker and Popular Science, as well as popular bloggers like the Brown Eyed Baker.
For now, users can create new posts only on the Web version and on the iPhone, but the feature soon should be available for iPads.
Perhaps the best thing about Hopflow is that it requires no work on the part of the user, aside from setting up an account, which takes all of 2 minutes. However, the more you use it, the more it adapts to what you like — Hopflow uses the term "automagical," and after a few weeks of testing, we agree.
- Available as a website and as iPhone and iPad apps
- Android app coming by end of the year
- Sharable to Twitter and Facebook
- User posts can contain text, links, photos and video